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Conan Doyle-The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Conan Doyle-The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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Arthur Conan Doyle

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Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


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Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 8 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .

... A CASE OF IDENTITY .... THE BOSCOMBE VALLEY MYSTERY............... THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE..211 Adventure IX.......................................................................42 Adventure III.......................................... THE ADVENTURE OF THE COPPER BEECHES........ THE ADVENTURE OF THE SPECKLED BAND .... THE ADVENTURE OF THE BLUE CARBUNCLE..................................................................................................................... THE MAN WITH THE TWISTED LIP..............................................................96 Adventure V.....128 Adventure VI..............................................73 Adventure IV......184 Adventure VIII.................................... THE ADVENTURE OF THE BERYL CORONET .....................................................300 Adventure XII.................................... THE ADVENTURE OF THE ENGINEER’S THUMB.........10 Adventure II........332 Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .............. A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA ....................................................3 Adventure I........................... THE ADVENTURE OF THE NOBLE BACHELOR .............................................153 Adventure VII.....Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 9 Contents Click on number to go to page Project Gutenberg Etexts ..............................................244 Adventure 10............................. THE FIVE ORANGE PIPS.....272 Adventure XI...........................

and that one particularly. while Holmes. He never spoke of the softer passions. and that woman was the late Irene Adler. and the home-centred interests which rise up around the man who first finds himself master of his own establishment. My marriage had drifted us away from each other. would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. My own complete happiness. the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen. But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. He was. remained in our lodgings in T Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . of dubious and questionable memory.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 10 Adventure I. I had seen little of Holmes lately. All emotions. save with a gibe and a sneer. precise but admirably balanced mind. o Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. who loathed every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul. I take it. Grit in a sensitive instrument. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. were abhorrent to his cold. A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA I. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses. but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. They were admirable things for the observer—excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions. And yet there was but one woman to him. were sufficient to absorb all my attention.

when my way led me through Baker Street. He had risen out of his drug-created dreams and was hot upon the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . of his clearing up of the singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee. One night—it was on the twentieth of March. and the fierce energy of his own keen nature. and to know how he was employing his extraordinary powers. deeply attracted by the study of crime. spare figure pass twice in a dark silhouette against the blind. however.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 11 Baker Street. which must always be associated in my mind with my wooing. and finally of the mission which he had accomplished so delicately and successfully for the reigning family of Holland. which I merely shared with all the readers of the daily press. 1888—I was returning from a journey to a patient (for I had now returned to civil practice). and with the dark incidents of the Study in Scarlet. and. He was pacing the room swiftly. I knew little of my former friend and companion. He was at work again. He was still. and clearing up those mysteries which had been abandoned as hopeless by the official police. who knew his every mood and habit. His rooms were brilliantly lit. buried among his old books. and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition. and occupied his immense faculties and extraordinary powers of observation in following out those clews. eagerly. with his head sunk upon his chest and his hands clasped behind him. Beyond these signs of his activity. even as I looked up. I was seized with a keen desire to see Holmes again. I saw his tall. To me. as ever. the drowsiness of the drug. his attitude and manner told their own story. From time to time I heard some vague account of his doings: of his summons to Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder. As I passed the well-remembered door.

but with a kindly eye. that you have put on seven and a half pounds since I saw you. “It is simplicity itself. I think. Then he stood before the fire and looked me over in his singular introspective fashion.” he remarked. the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and my wife has given her notice. It is true that I had a country walk on Thursday and came home in a dreadful mess. and that you have a most clumsy and careless servant girl?” “My dear Holmes. again. Watson.” “Then.” He chuckled to himself and rubbed his long. I rang the bell and was shown up to the chamber which had formerly been in part my own. “Indeed. to see me. With hardly a word spoken. but as I have changed my clothes I can’t imagine how you deduce it.” said I. and indicated a spirit case and a gasogene in the corner. I deduce it. just where the firelight strikes it. he waved me to an armchair.” “Seven!” I answered. How do I know that you have been getting yourself very wet lately. I fancy. she is incorrigible. how do you know?” “I see it. Watson. As to Mary Jane. but he was glad. “Wedlock suits you.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 12 scent of some new problem.” said he. “my eyes tell me that on the inside of your left shoe. “I think. Just a trifle more. You would certainly have been burned. “this is too much. nervous hands together. I should have thought a little more. I observe. You did not tell me that you intended to go into harness. had you lived a few centuries ago. His manner was not effusive. It seldom was. And in practice again. I fail to see how you work it out. but there. threw across his case of cigars.

if a gentleman walks into my rooms smelling of iodoform. I must be dull. Hence. you see.” “Quite so. and that you had a particularly malignant boot-slitting specimen of the London slavey.” I could not help laughing at the ease with which he explained his process of deduction.” “Quite so! You have not observed. you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room. indeed. since you are Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . As to your practice. “You see. and a bulge on the right side of his top-hat to show where he has secreted his stethoscope. but you do not observe. The distinction is clear. By-the-way.” he answered. “When I hear you give your reasons. I know that there are seventeen steps.” I remarked. And yet I believe that my eyes are as good as yours. my double deduction that you had been out in vile weather. Obviously they have been caused by someone who has very carelessly scraped round the edges of the sole in order to remove crusted mud from it.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 13 leather is scored by six almost parallel cuts.” “How often?” “Well. “the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself. though at each successive instance of your reasoning I am baffled until you explain your process. For example.” “Frequently. lighting a cigarette. some hundreds of times. because I have both seen and observed.” “Then how many are there?” “How many? I don’t know. That is just my point. Now. with a black mark of nitrate of silver upon his right forefinger. and throwing himself down into an armchair. And yet you have seen. if I do not pronounce him to be an active member of the medical profession.

pink-tinted note-paper which had been lying open upon the table. and saw a large “E” with a small “g. and the paper upon which it was written.” it said. “Read it aloud. you may be interested in this.” I remarked.” I did so.” said he. Your recent services to one of the royal houses of Europe have shown that you are one who may safely be trusted with matters which are of an importance which can hardly be exaggerated. “There will call upon you to-night. and without either signature or address. “The man who wrote it was presumably well to do. and since you are good enough to chronicle one or two of my trifling experiences. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 14 interested in these little problems.” He threw over a sheet of thick. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. “What do you imagine that it means?” “I have no data yet. It is peculiarly strong and stiff. “It is not an English paper at all. instead of theories to suit facts.” The note was undated.” a “P. Be in your chamber then at that hour. This account of you we have from all quarters received. “It came by the last post. “This is indeed a mystery. at a quarter to eight o’clock. What do you deduce from it?” I carefully examined the writing.” “Peculiar—that is the very word. “a gentleman who desires to consult you upon a matter of the very deepest moment. Hold it up to the light.” I remarked. “Such paper could not be bought under half a crown a packet. and do not take it amiss if your visitor wear a mask. endeavouring to imitate my companion’s processes.” said Holmes.” and a large Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . But the note itself.

It is the German who is so uncourteous to his verbs. “Yes.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 15 “G” with a small “t” woven into the texture of the paper. if I am not mistaken. and he sent up a great blue triumphant cloud from his cigarette. ‘Remarkable as being the scene of the death of Wallenstein.’ of course. “Precisely. rather.” He took down a heavy brown volume from his shelves. Do you note the peculiar construction of the sentence—‘This account of you we have from all quarters received.” “Not at all. “The name of the maker. Eglonitz—here we are.’ which is the German for ‘Company. A hundred and fifty guineas apiece. Egria.’ Ha.” said he. no doubt. It is in a German-speaking country—in Bohemia. to resolve all our doubts. It only remains. “The paper was made in Bohemia. followed by a sharp pull at the bell. “Eglow. my boy. therefore. “A pair. There’s money in this case.” I said.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” he continued. Holmes whistled.’ Let us glance at our Continental Gazetteer. Watson.” As he spoke there was the sharp sound of horses’ hoofs and grating wheels against the curb. “What do you make of that?” asked Holmes. not far from Carlsbad. or his monogram. And the man who wrote the note is a German. what do you make of that?” His eyes sparkled. and for its numerous glass-factories and paper-mills. The ‘G’ with the small ‘t’ stands for ‘Gesellschaft.’ ‘P.’ It is a customary contraction like our ‘Co. stands for ‘Papier.’ A Frenchman or Russian could not have written that. ha. to discover what is wanted by this German who writes upon Bohemian paper and prefers wearing a mask to showing his face.’ Now for the ‘Eg. “A nice little brougham and a pair of beauties. And here he comes. by the sound. if there is nothing else. glancing out of the window.

and a long. and give us your best attention. And this promises to be interesting.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 16 “I think that I had better go. Then there was a loud and authoritative tap. I am lost without my Boswell. which had been heard upon the stairs and in the passage. while he wore across the upper part of his face. in England. Heavy bands of astrakhan were slashed across the sleeves and fronts of his double-breasted coat.” “But your client—” “Never mind him. Doctor. Doctor. “Come in!” said Holmes.” A slow and heavy step. a black vizard mask.” “Not a bit. His dress was rich with a richness which would. be looked upon as akin to bad taste. paused immediately outside the door. I may want your help. and so may he. A man entered who could hardly have been less than six feet six inches in height. with a thick. hanging lip. extending down past the cheekbones. Sit down in that armchair. Boots which extended halfway up his calves. Holmes. which he had apparently adjusted that very moment. completed the impression of barbaric opulence which was suggested by his whole appearance. with the chest and limbs of a Hercules. and which were trimmed at the tops with rich brown fur. while the deep blue cloak which was thrown over his shoulders was lined with flame-coloured silk and secured at the neck with a brooch which consisted of a single flaming beryl. It would be a pity to miss it. From the lower part of the face he appeared to be a man of strong character. Here he comes. for his hand was still raised to it as he entered. He carried a broad-brimmed hat in his hand. straight chin suggestive of Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Stay where you are.

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 17 resolution pushed to the length of obstinacy.” I rose to go. but Holmes caught me by the wrist and pushed me back into my chair. I should much prefer to communicate with you alone. as if uncertain which to address. is a man of honour and discretion.” said he. “Then I must begin. your friend. or none. a Bohemian nobleman. “by binding you both to absolute secrecy for two years. If not. I understand that this gentleman. “You had my note?” he asked with a deep harsh voice and a strongly marked German accent.” The Count shrugged his broad shoulders. “It is both. “This is my friend and colleague. “Pray take a seat. whom I may trust with a matter of the most extreme importance. “The circumstances are of great delicacy. Dr. “The august person who employs me wishes his agent to be unknown to you. At present it is not too much to say that it is of such weight it may have an influence upon European history.” said Holmes dryly.” “I was aware of it.” continued our strange visitor.” He looked from one to the other of us. at the end of that time the matter will be of no importance. and I may confess at once that the title by which I have just called myself is not exactly my own.” said Holmes. Watson. “You may say before this gentleman anything which you may say to me. and every precaution Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “I told you that I would call.” said Holmes. Whom have I the honour to address?” “You may address me as the Count Von Kramm.” said he.” “You will excuse this mask. “And I.” “I promise. who is occasionally good enough to help me in my cases.

” murmured Holmes. Then.” he remarked.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 18 has to be taken to quench what might grow to be an immense scandal and seriously compromise one of the reigning families of Europe. sitting down once more and passing his hand over his high white forehead. “you can understand that I am not accustomed to doing such business in my own person. To speak plainly. indeed?” murmured Holmes. I have come incognito from Prague for the purpose of consulting you. with a gesture of desperation. “I am the King. “You are right. hereditary kings of Bohemia.” The man sprang from his chair and paced up and down the room in uncontrollable agitation.” “I was also aware of that. Why should I attempt to conceal it?” “Why. Yet the matter was so delicate that I could not confide it to an agent without putting myself in his power. Holmes slowly reopened his eyes and looked impatiently at his gigantic client. “If your Majesty would condescend to state your case. lounging figure of the man who had been no doubt depicted to him as the most incisive reasoner and most energetic agent in Europe.” he cried. and hereditary King of Bohemia. “Your Majesty had not spoken before I was aware that I was addressing Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . the matter implicates the great House of Ormstein. “I should be better able to advise you. he tore the mask from his face and hurled it upon the ground. Our visitor glanced with some apparent surprise at the languid.” said our strange visitor. Grand Duke of CasselFelstein. settling himself down in his armchair and closing his eyes.” “But you can understand.

” “Precisely so. during a lengthy visit to Warsaw. hum! Prima donna Imperial Opera of Warsaw—yes! Retired from operatic stage—ha! Living in London—quite so! Your Majesty. In this case I found her biography sandwiched in between that of a Hebrew rabbi and that of a staff-commander who had written a monograph upon the deep-sea fishes. became entangled with this young person.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “No legal papers or certificates?” “None. how is she to prove their authenticity?” “There is the writing. as I understand. so that it was difficult to name a subject or a person on which he could not at once furnish information. “Hum! Born in New Jersey in the year 1858. wrote her some compromising letters. shutting his eyes once more. If this young person should produce her letters for blackmailing or other purposes.” “Pooh. For many years he had adopted a system of docketing all paragraphs concerning men and things.” murmured Holmes without opening his eyes. pray consult. The name is no doubt familiar to you. “Let me see!” said Holmes. “The facts are briefly these: Some five years ago. I made the acquaintance of the wellknown adventuress. Irene Adler. Contralto—hum! La Scala. Doctor.” said Holmes. pooh! Forgery.” “Then I fail to follow your Majesty.” “Kindly look her up in my index. But how—” “Was there a secret marriage?” “None. and is now desirous of getting those letters back.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 19 “Then.

” “She will not sell.” “I was mad—insane.” “I was only Crown Prince then. “But a very serious one to me.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 20 “My private note-paper.” “You have compromised yourself seriously.” “My photograph. Twice she has been waylaid.” “No sign of it?” “Absolutely none.” “Oh.” “Bought. dear! That is very bad! Your Majesty has indeed committed an indiscretion.” “My own seal.” “It must be recovered.” said he. There has been no result. I was young. And what does she propose to do with the photograph?” “To ruin me. indeed.” “We were both in the photograph.” returned the King reproachfully.” “Your Majesty must pay. Twice burglars in my pay ransacked her house.” “Five attempts have been made.” “We have tried and failed. It must be bought. “Very. I am but thirty now. then.” Holmes laughed.” “Stolen. “It is quite a pretty little problem. Once we diverted her luggage when she travelled.” “Imitated.” “Stolen.

” said Holmes with a yawn.” “Oh. and the mind of the most resolute of men. A shadow of a doubt as to my conduct would bring the matter to an end. She has the face of the most beautiful of women.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 21 “But how?” “I am about to be married. “That is very fortunate. stay in London for the present?” “Certainly.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “And Irene Adler?” “Threatens to send them the photograph. She is herself the very soul of delicacy. then we have three days yet. And she will do it. Your Majesty will.” “Then I shall drop you a line to let you know how we progress.” “Pray do so. second daughter of the King of Scandinavia. That will be next Monday.” “To Clotilde Lothman von Saxe-Meningen. of course. there are no lengths to which she would not go— none.” “Then. You do not know her. as to money?” “You have carte blanche.” “So I have heard. but she has a soul of steel.” “You are sure that she has not sent it yet?” “I am sure. You may know the strict principles of her family. I shall be all anxiety. as I have one or two matters of importance to look into just at present. I know that she will do it. Rather than I should marry another woman. You will find me at the Langham under the name of the Count Von Kramm.” “And why?” “Because she has said that she would send it on the day when the betrothal was publicly proclaimed.

” “Then. “Was the photograph a cabinet?” “It was. And good-night. “If you will be good enough to call to-morrow afternoon at three o’clock I should like to chat this little matter over with you. good-night.” he added. and I trust that we shall soon have some good news for you. St. “And Mademoiselle’s address?” he asked.” Holmes took a note of it. “One other question. Holmes scribbled a receipt upon a sheet of his note-book and handed it to him.” said he.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 22 “Absolutely?” “I tell you that I would give one of the provinces of my kingdom to have that photograph. John’s Wood.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” he said.” “And for present expenses?” The King took a heavy chamois leather bag from under his cloak and laid it on the table. “Is Briony Lodge. Serpentine Avenue. “There are three hundred pounds in gold and seven hundred in notes. your Majesty. Watson. as the wheels of the royal brougham rolled down the street.

and his keen. and then he choked and laughed again until he was obliged to lie back. however. It was close upon four before the door opened. there was something in his masterly grasp of a situation. in the chair. walked into the room. but Holmes had not yet returned. t three o’clock precisely I was at Baker Street. for. with an inflamed face and disreputable clothes. I sat down beside the fire. So accustomed was I to his invariable success that the very possibility of his failing had ceased to enter into my head. “Well. The landlady informed me that he had left the house shortly after eight o’clock in the morning. incisive reasoning.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 23 II. still. and a drunkenlooking groom. subtle methods by which he disentangled the most inextricable mysteries. I was already deeply interested in his inquiry. whence he emerged in five minutes tweed-suited and respectable. I had to look three times before I was certain that it was indeed he. limp and helpless. With a nod he vanished into the bedroom. as of old. Putting his hands into his pockets. Accustomed as I was to my friend’s amazing powers in the use of disguises. and to follow the quick. the nature of the case and the exalted station of his client gave it a character of its own. A Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . really!” he cried. with the intention of awaiting him. he stretched out his legs in front of the fire and laughed heartily for some minutes. however long he might be. ill-kempt and side-whiskered. though it was surrounded by none of the grim and strange features which were associated with the two crimes which I have already recorded. which made it a pleasure to me to study his system of work. apart from the nature of the investigation which my friend had on hand. Indeed.

and as much information as I could desire about Miss Adler. I suppose that you have been watching the habits. and perhaps the house. “I then lounged down the street and found. There is a wonderful sympathy and freemasonry among horsy men. that there was a mews in a lane which runs down by one wall of the garden.” “I can’t imagine. save that the passage window could be reached from the top of the coach-house. but built out in front right up to the road. a glass of half and half. she has turned all the men’s heads down in that part. with long windows almost to the floor. two fills of shag tobacco.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 24 “What is it?” “It’s quite too funny. but without noting anything else of interest. She Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . however. with a garden at the back. and those preposterous English window fasteners which a child could open. well furnished. I lent the ostlers a hand in rubbing down their horses. and received in exchange twopence. to say nothing of half a dozen other people in the neighbourhood in whom I was not in the least interested. two stories. Behind there was nothing remarkable. Large sitting-room on the right side. but the sequel was rather unusual. but whose biographies I was compelled to listen to. I soon found Briony Lodge. I am sure you could never guess how I employed my morning.” “Quite so. of Miss Irene Adler. It is a bijou villa. I left the house a little after eight o’clock this morning in the character of a groom out of work. Chubb lock to the door. I will tell you. and you will know all that there is to know. I walked round it and examined it closely from every point of view.” “And what of Irene Adler?” I asked. as I expected. “Oh. or what I ended by doing. Be one of them.

She lives quietly. shouted to the cabman to wait. Seldom goes out at other times. never calls less than once a day. On the issue of this question depended whether I should continue my work at Briony Lodge. and knew all about him. to a man. dark. I began to walk up and down near Briony Lodge once more. drives out at five every day. If the latter. or his mistress? If the former. See the advantages of a cabman as a confidant. He was a lawyer. He is a Mr. Has only one male visitor. That sounded ominous. He is dark. and it widened the field of my inquiry. What was the relation between them. and moustached—evidently the man of whom I had heard. It was a delicate point. it was less likely. They had driven him home a dozen times from Serpentine-mews. He was a remarkably handsome man. He appeared to be in a great hurry.” I answered. except when she sings. When I had listened to all they had to tell. So say the Serpentine-mews. and brushed past the maid who opened the door with the air of a Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Godfrey Norton. but I have to let you see my little difficulties.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 25 is the daintiest thing under a bonnet on this planet. if you are to understand the situation. and to think over my plan of campaign. I fear that I bore you with these details. and often twice. his friend. aquiline. sings at concerts.” “I am following you closely. of the Inner Temple. handsome. but a good deal of him. “I was still balancing the matter in my mind when a hansom cab drove up to Briony Lodge. and returns at seven sharp for dinner. she had probably transferred the photograph to his keeping. “This Godfrey Norton was evidently an important factor in the matter. and dashing. and a gentleman sprang out. or turn my attention to the gentleman’s chambers in the Temple. and what the object of his repeated visits? Was she his client.

John. Of her I could see nothing.’ he shouted. and of course it was clear enough what was in the wind. but I jumped in before he could object. but the others were there before us. the coachman with his coat only half-buttoned. The cab and the landau with their steaming horses were in front of the door when I arrived. ‘Drive like the devil. The driver looked twice at such a shabby fare.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 26 man who was thoroughly at home. Monica. ‘and half a sovereign if you reach it in twenty minutes. and waving his arms. and I could catch glimpses of him in the windows of the sitting-room. but she was a lovely woman. pacing up and down. talking excitedly. ‘The Church of St. It hadn’t pulled up before she shot out of the hall door and into it. I only caught a glimpse of her at the moment. and his tie under his ear. Watson. I was just balancing whether I should run for it.’ said I. he pulled a gold watch from his pocket and looked at it earnestly. Monica. “He was in the house about half an hour.’ It was twenty-five minutes to twelve.’ “This was quite too good to lose. As he stepped up to the cab. with a face that a man might die for. “‘The Church of St. and I was just wondering whether I should not do well to follow them when up the lane came a neat little landau. I paid Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Half a guinea if you do it in twenty minutes!’ “Away they went. “My cabby drove fast. Presently he emerged. Monica in the Edgeware Road. ‘first to Gross & Hankey’s in Regent Street. I don’t think I ever drove faster.’ she cried. ‘and half a sovereign if you reach it in twenty minutes. and then to the Church of St. looking even more flurried than before. while all the tags of his harness were sticking out of the buckles. or whether I should perch behind her landau when a cab came through the street.

bachelor. and it was the thought of it that started me laughing just now. I lounged up the side aisle like any other idler who has dropped into a church. man. and generally assisting in the secure tying up of Irene Adler.” he cried. It was all done in an instant. They were all three standing in a knot in front of the altar. I found my plans very seriously menaced. come. only three minutes. “Come. There was not a soul there save the two whom I had followed and a surpliced clergyman.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 27 the man and hurried into the church. It was the most preposterous position in which I ever found myself in my life. The bride gave me a sovereign. and so necessitate Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . that the clergyman absolutely refused to marry them without a witness of some sort. and there was the gentleman thanking me on the one side and the lady on the other. or it won’t be legal. to my surprise. “and what then?” “Well. It looked as if the pair might take an immediate departure. Come! Come!” “What then?” I asked. and I mean to wear it on my watch-chain in memory of the occasion. It seems that there had been some informality about their license. “You’ll do. the three at the altar faced round to me.” “This is a very unexpected turn of affairs. who seemed to be expostulating with them. to Godfrey Norton. “Thank God. while the clergyman beamed on me in front. Suddenly. and that my lucky appearance saved the bridegroom from having to sally out into the streets in search of a best man. and Godfrey Norton came running as hard as he could towards me. and before I knew where I was I found myself mumbling responses which were whispered in my ear.” said I. spinster.” I was half-dragged up to the altar. and vouching for things of which I knew nothing.

I heard no more. and she to her own house.” “Which are?” “Some cold beef and a glass of beer. or Madame. Doctor. In two hours we must be on the scene of action.’ she said as she left him. Turner has brought in the tray I will make it clear to you. “I must discuss it while I eat.” “You don’t mind breaking the law?” “Not in the least. I have already arranged what is to occur. returns from her drive at seven. We must be at Briony Lodge to meet her. they separated. rather.” “Oh. I shall want your cooperation. he driving back to the Temple.” “And what then?” “You must leave that to me. and I am likely to be busier still this evening.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 28 very prompt and energetic measures on my part.” he said as he turned hungrily on the simple fare that our landlady had provided.” “Nor running a chance of arrest?” “Not in a good cause. and I went off to make my own arrangements. Miss Irene.” he answered.” “But what is it you wish?” “When Mrs. At the church door. ringing the bell. There is only one point on which I must insist. for I have not much time.” “I was sure that I might rely on you. It is nearly five now. however.” “I shall be delighted. “I have been too busy to think of food. You must Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Now. ‘I shall drive out in the park at five as usual. the cause is excellent!” “Then I am your man. By the way. They drove away in different directions.

You quite follow me?” “Entirely. and will. and at the signal to throw in this object. come what may. I hope that I have made myself clear?” “I am to remain neutral. There will probably be some small unpleasantness. to get near the window.” “Then you may entirely rely on me. then to raise the cry of fire. Four or five minutes afterwards the sitting-room window will open.” he said. taking a long cigarshaped roll from his pocket. You may then walk to the end of the street. and I will rejoin you in ten minutes. and to wait you at the corner of the street.” “Precisely. “It is an ordinary plumber’s smokerocket.” He disappeared into his bedroom and returned in a few Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “It is nothing very formidable. it will be taken up by quite a number of people.” “Yes. Do not join in it.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 29 not interfere. When you raise your cry of fire. raise the cry of fire. It will end in my being conveyed into the house. for I will be visible to you. You understand?” “I am to be neutral?” “To do nothing whatever. You are to station yourself close to that open window. perhaps. Your task is confined to that.” “You are to watch me. at the same time. to watch you.” “That is excellent. I think.” “And when I raise my hand—so—you will throw into the room what I give you to throw. fitted with a cap at either end to make it self-lighting. it is almost time that I prepare for the new role I have to play.” “Yes.

The photograph becomes a double-edged weapon now. Now the question is. and general look of peering and benevolent curiosity were such as Mr. it was remarkably animated. There was a group of shabbily dressed men smoking and laughing in a corner. The stage lost a fine actor. as our client is to its coming to the eyes of his princess.” remarked Holmes. John Hare alone could have equalled. His broad black hat. when he became a specialist in crime. His expression. but the locality appeared to be less private than I expected. for a small street in a quiet neighbourhood. The chances are that she would be as averse to its being seen by Mr. It was already dusk. waiting for the coming of its occupant. and several well-dressed young men who were lounging up and down with cigars in their mouths. his manner. his baggy trousers. The house was just such as I had pictured it from Sherlock Holmes’s succinct description. and it still wanted ten minutes to the hour when we found ourselves in Serpentine Avenue. and the lamps were just being lighted as we paced up and down in front of Briony Lodge. Godfrey Norton. On the contrary. a scissors-grinder with his wheel. “this marriage rather simplifies matters.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 30 minutes in the character of an amiable and simple-minded Nonconformist clergyman. Where are we to find the photograph?” “Where. It was not merely that Holmes changed his costume. his white tie. two guardsmen who were flirting with a nurse-girl. “You see. even as science lost an acute reasoner. It was a quarter past six when we left Baker Street. as we paced to and fro in front of the house. indeed?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . his very soul seemed to vary with every fresh part that he assumed. his sympathetic smile.

” “Where.” As he spoke the gleam of the side-lights of a carriage came round the curve of the avenue. Besides. Why should she hand it over to anyone else? She could trust her own guardianship. A fierce Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . But I am inclined to think neither. It was a smart little landau which rattled up to the door of Briony Lodge. and they like to do their own secreting. Two attempts of the sort have already been made.” “But it has twice been burgled. It must be where she can lay her hands upon it. who had rushed up with the same intention. It is cabinet size. but was elbowed away by another loafer. It must be in her own house. There is that double possibility.” “But how will you look?” “I will not look.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 31 “It is most unlikely that she carries it about with her. Now carry out my orders to the letter.” “Pshaw! They did not know how to look.” “What then?” “I will get her to show me.” “She will not be able to. remember that she had resolved to use it within a few days. We may take it.” “But she will refuse. then?” “Her banker or her lawyer. As it pulled up. Women are naturally secretive. Too large for easy concealment about a woman’s dress. But I hear the rumble of wheels. then. but she could not tell what indirect or political influence might be brought to bear upon a business man. She knows that the King is capable of having her waylaid and searched. that she does not carry it about with her. It is her carriage. one of the loafing men at the corner dashed forward to open the door in the hope of earning a copper.

no. This way.” “He’s a brave fellow. who had watched the scuffle without taking part in it. crowded in to help the lady and to attend to the injured man. “But he’ll be gone before you can get him to hospital. Holmes dashed into the crowd to protect the lady. he’s breathing now. The lamps had been lit. while a number of better-dressed people.” said a woman. and by the scissorsgrinder. which was increased by the two guardsmen. as I will still call her. but just as he reached her he gave a cry and dropped to the ground. and a rough one. who struck savagely at each other with their fists and sticks. while I still observed the proceedings from my post by the window.” cried several voices. Ah. too. “Is the poor gentleman much hurt?” she asked. please!” Slowly and solemnly he was borne into Briony Lodge and laid out in the principal room. who took sides with one of the loungers. Irene Adler. “No. At his fall the guardsmen took to their heels in one direction and the loungers in the other.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 32 quarrel broke out. with the blood running freely down his face. They were a gang. looking back into the street. who was equally hot upon the other side. “They would have had the lady’s purse and watch if it hadn’t been for him. who had stepped from her carriage. but the blinds had not been drawn. but she stood at the top with her superb figure outlined against the lights of the hall. there’s life in him!” shouted another. so that I could see Holmes as he lay Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . had hurried up the steps. There is a comfortable sofa. marm?” “Surely. May we bring him in. was the centre of a little knot of flushed and struggling men. “He is dead. and in an instant the lady. Bring him into the sitting-room.” “He can’t lie in the street. A blow was struck.

and to get away from the scene of uproar. and took the smoke-rocket from under my ulster. and a moment later the voice of Holmes from within assuring them that it was a false alarm. And yet it would be the blackest treachery to Holmes to draw back now from the part which he had intrusted to me. and I saw him motion like a man who is in need of air. I do not know whether he was seized with compunction at that moment for the part he was playing. At the same instant I saw him raise his hand and at the signal I tossed my rocket into the room with a cry of “Fire!” The word was no sooner out of my mouth than the whole crowd of spectators. A maid rushed across and threw open the window.” he remarked.” “You have the photograph?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . well dressed and ill—gentlemen. ostlers. but I know that I never felt more heartily ashamed of myself in my life than when I saw the beautiful creature against whom I was conspiring. Slipping through the shouting crowd I made my way to the corner of the street. and servantmaids—joined in a general shriek of “Fire!” Thick clouds of smoke curled through the room and out at the open window. and in ten minutes was rejoiced to find my friend’s arm in mine. I hardened my heart. We are but preventing her from injuring another. “You did it very nicely. we are not injuring her.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 33 upon the couch. I caught a glimpse of rushing figures. Doctor. or the grace and kindliness with which she waited upon the injured man. It is all right. After all. Holmes had sat up upon the couch. I thought. He walked swiftly and in silence for some few minutes until we had turned down one of the quiet streets which lead towards the Edgeware Road. “Nothing could have been better.

A married woman grabs at her baby. In the case of the Darlington substitution scandal it was of use to me. and I was determined to see which. They were all engaged for the evening. and you had your chance.” “I am still in the dark.” “How did that help you?” “It was all-important. laughing. fell down. “The matter was perfectly simple.” “And how did you find out?” “She showed me. clapped my hand to my face. saw that everyone in the street was an accomplice.” “Then they carried me in. when the row broke out. I rushed forward. and became a piteous spectacle. they were compelled to open the window. which was the very room which I suspected. It is a perfectly overpowering impulse. You.” “That also I could fathom.” “I do not wish to make a mystery. They laid me on a couch. I had a little moist red paint in the palm of my hand.” “Then. It is an old trick.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 34 “I know where it is. What else could she do? And into her sitting-room.” “I guessed as much. She was bound to have me in. I motioned for air.” said he. When a woman thinks that her house is on fire. and I have more than once taken advantage of it. and also in the Arnsworth Castle business. her instinct is at once to rush to the thing which she values most. Now it was clear to me that our lady of to-day had nothing in the house more precious to Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . of course. an unmarried one reaches for her jewel-box. It lay between that and her bedroom. as I told you she would.

” We had reached Baker Street and had stopped at the door. It might be a satisfaction to his Majesty to regain it with his own hands. glanced at the rocket. The photograph is in a recess behind a sliding panel just above the right bell-pull. and as he was watching me narrowly it seemed safer to wait. He was searching his pockets for the key when someone passing said: “Good-night. but it is probable that when she comes she may find neither us nor the photograph. and. She responded beautifully. Mister Sherlock Holmes.” “And now?” I asked. Besides. She would rush to secure it. I rose.” There were several people on the pavement at the time.” “And when will you call?” “At eight in the morning. I must wire to the King without delay. I hesitated whether to attempt to secure the photograph at once. she replaced it. making my excuses. but the greeting appeared to come from a slim youth in an ulster who had Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . so that we shall have a clear field. escaped from the house. and I have not seen her since. The alarm of fire was admirably done. for this marriage may mean a complete change in her life and habits. A little over-precipitance may ruin all. if you care to come with us. The smoke and shouting were enough to shake nerves of steel. When I cried out that it was a false alarm. She will not be up. and I caught a glimpse of it as she half-drew it out. We will be shown into the sitting-room to wait for the lady. I shall call with the King tomorrow. “Our quest is practically finished. rushed from the room.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 35 her than what we are in quest of. but the coachman had come in. we must be prompt. and with you. She was there in an instant.

staring down the dimly lit street. I wonder who the deuce that could have been.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 36 hurried by. “Now.” said Holmes.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “I’ve heard that voice before.

” “Then. slept at Baker Street that night.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 37 III. my brougham is waiting. “Irene Adler is married.” “But to whom?” “To an English lawyer named Norton. there is no reason why she should interfere with your Majesty’s plan.” “We must have a cab. she does not love your Majesty.” “Then that will simplify matters. “Married! When?” “Yesterday.” “But she could not love him.” “No. grasping Sherlock Holmes by either shoulder and looking eagerly into his face. If the lady loves her husband. “You have really got it!” he cried. “Not yet.” “It is true. I am all impatience to be gone.” We descended and started off once more for Briony Lodge.” “And why in hopes?” “Because it would spare your Majesty all fear of future annoyance. And yet—Well! I wish she had been of my own station! What a queen she would have made!” He relapsed into a I Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “But you have hopes?” “I have hopes.” remarked Holmes. come. If she does not love your Majesty. and we were engaged upon our toast and coffee in the morning when the King of Bohemia rushed into the room.” “I am in hopes that she does.

as if the lady had hurriedly ransacked them before her flight. She watched us with a sardonic eye as we stepped from the brougham. I had Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . tore back a small sliding shutter. which was not broken until we drew up in Serpentine Avenue. You took me in completely. and an elderly woman stood upon the steps. pulled out a photograph and a letter. I believe?” said she.” My friend tore it open and we all three read it together. with dismantled shelves and open drawers. The door of Briony Lodge was open.” “And the papers?” asked the King hoarsely. SHERLOCK HOLMES. “Mr. and. the letter was superscribed to “Sherlock Holmes. looking at her with a questioning and rather startled gaze. Until after the alarm of fire. Sherlock Holmes.” answered my companion. It was dated at midnight of the preceding night and ran in this way: MY DEAR MR. “I am Mr.—You really did it very well. “Indeed! My mistress told me that you were likely to call.” He pushed past the servant and rushed into the drawing-room. Holmes rushed at the bell-pull. white with chagrin and surprise. “Do you mean that she has left England?” “Never to return.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 38 moody silence. Holmes. She left this morning with her husband by the 5:15 train from Charing Cross for the Continent.” “What!” Sherlock Holmes staggered back. plunging in his hand. Esq. The furniture was scattered about in every direction. To be left till called for. “All is lost. The photograph was of Irene Adler herself in evening dress.” “We shall see. followed by the King and myself.

rather imprudently. you made me reveal what you wanted to know. so you will find the nest empty when you call to-morrow. But. The King may do what he will without hindrance from one whom he has cruelly wronged. I found it hard to think evil of such a dear. Male costume is nothing new to me. Sherlock Holmes. to watch you. I often take advantage of the freedom which it gives. nee ADLER. and so made sure that I was really an object of interest to the celebrated Mr. you know. “Did I not tell Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . And your address had been given me. IRENE NORTON. I sent John. dear Mr. I had been told that if the King employed an agent it would certainly be you. kind old clergyman. But then. I love and am loved by a better man than he. and I remain. when we had all three read this epistle. Sherlock Holmes. and to preserve a weapon which will always secure me from any steps which he might take in the future. wished you good-night. your client may rest in peace. Well. got into my walkingclothes. I followed you to your door. and started for the Temple to see my husband. Very truly yours. what a woman!” cried the King of Bohemia. Even after I became suspicious.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 39 not a suspicion. Yet. when pursued by so formidable an antagonist. the coachman. I began to think. ran up stairs. I leave a photograph which he might care to possess. We both thought the best resource was flight. I had been warned against you months ago. As to the photograph. Then I. I have been trained as an actress myself. I keep it only to safeguard myself. and came down just as you departed. as I call them. “What a woman—oh. when I found how I had betrayed myself. with all this.

And when he speaks of Irene Adler. This ring—” He slipped an emerald snake ring from his finger and held it out upon the palm of his hand. “I am sorry that I have not been able to bring your Majesty’s business to a more successful conclusion.” “I am glad to hear your Majesty say so. turning away without observing the hand which the King had stretched out to him.” “I am immensely indebted to you. Sherlock Holmes were beaten by a woman’s wit. I know that her word is inviolate.” “I thank your Majesty.” cried the King. “nothing could be more successful. I have the honour to wish you a very good-morning. if you wish it.” “This photograph!” The King stared at him in amazement. he set off in my company for his chambers.” He bowed.” said Holmes coldly. “Certainly. Pray tell me in what way I can reward you. my dear sir. “You have but to name it. and. The photograph is now as safe as if it were in the fire. or when he refers to her Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . He used to make merry over the cleverness of women. but I have not heard him do it of late.” said Holmes. And that was how a great scandal threatened to affect the kingdom of Bohemia. Then there is no more to be done in the matter. “Irene’s photograph!” he cried. “Your Majesty has something which I should value even more highly. and how the best plans of Mr.” “On the contrary.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 40 you how quick and resolute she was? Would she not have made an admirable queen? Is it not a pity that she was not on my level?” “From what I have seen of the lady she seems indeed to be on a very different level to your Majesty.

it is always under the honourable title of the woman. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 41 photograph.

with a quick little questioning glance from his small fatencircled eyes. “You could not possibly have come at a better time. Mr.” “Not at all. You have shown your relish for it by the enthusiasm which has prompted you to chronicle. “I was afraid that you were engaged. I was about to withdraw when Holmes pulled me abruptly into the room and closed the door behind me. if you will excuse my saying so. my dear Watson. Sherlock Holmes.” he said cordially.” “Then I can wait in the next room.” said Holmes. that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routine of everyday life. Very much so. one day in the autumn of last year and found him in deep conversation with a very stout. has been my partner and helper in many of my most successful cases. elderly gentleman with fiery red hair. “I know. relapsing into his armchair and putting his fingertips together. “Try the settee.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 42 Adventure II. as was his custom when in judicial moods.” I I Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . With an apology for my intrusion. and. and I have no doubt that he will be of the utmost use to me in yours also.” “So I am. Mr. somewhat to embellish so many of my own little adventures.” “Your cases have indeed been of the greatest interest to me. florid-faced. THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE had called upon my friend. Wilson.” The stout gentleman half rose from his chair and gave a bob of greeting. This gentleman. my dear Watson.

“You will remember that I remarked the other day.” “You did. I am able to guide myself by the thousands of other similar cases which occur to my memory.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 43 observed. Mr. I ask you not merely because my friend Dr. Watson has not heard the opening part but also because the peculiar nature of the story makes me anxious to have every possible detail from your lips.” “A proposition which I took the liberty of doubting. Doctor. In the present instance I am forced to admit that the facts are. when I have heard some slight indication of the course of events. to the best of my belief. As a rule. for otherwise I shall keep on piling fact upon fact on you until your reason breaks down under them and acknowledges me to be right. Mr. unique. Now. just before we went into the very simple problem presented by Miss Mary Sutherland. that for strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself. Wilson. you would have the great kindness to recommence your narrative. Jabez Wilson here has been good enough to call upon me this morning. Perhaps. and to begin a narrative which promises to be one of the most singular which I have listened to for some time. As far as I have heard it is impossible for me to say whether the present case is an instance of crime or not. but the course of events is certainly among the most singular that I have ever listened to. and occasionally. You have heard me remark that the strangest and most unique things are very often connected not with the larger but with the smaller crimes. indeed. which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination. but none the less you must come round to my view. where there is room for doubt whether any positive crime has been committed.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .

Altogether. but his eyes upon my companion. A frayed top-hat and a faded brown overcoat with a wrinkled velvet collar lay upon a chair beside him. that I did manual labour. for example. It’s as true as gospel. look as I would. that he takes snuff. pompous. did you know all that. Jabez Wilson started up in his chair. Sherlock Holmes’s quick eye took in my occupation. Holmes?” he asked. and a square pierced bit of metal dangling down as an ornament. I took a good look at the man and endeavoured. “How did you know. however. As he glanced down the advertisement column. with his head thrust forward and the paper flattened out upon his knee. “Beyond the obvious facts that he has at some time done manual labour. and that he has done a considerable amount of writing lately.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 44 The portly client puffed out his chest with an appearance of some little pride and pulled a dirty and wrinkled newspaper from the inside pocket of his greatcoat. obese. and he shook his head with a smile as he noticed my questioning glances. in the name of good-fortune. a not over-clean black frock-coat. to read the indications which might be presented by his dress or appearance. that he has been in China. and the expression of extreme chagrin and discontent upon his features. that he is a Freemason. and slow. there was nothing remarkable about the man save his blazing red head. with his forefinger upon the paper. He wore rather baggy grey shepherd’s check trousers. for I began as a ship’s Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “How.” Mr. by my inspection. after the fashion of my companion. and a drab waistcoat with a heavy brassy Albert chain. I did not gain very much. Mr. unbuttoned in the front. I can deduce nothing else. Our visitor bore every mark of being an average commonplace British tradesman.

” “Your hands. Can you not find the advertisement. “I thought at first that you had done something clever.” he answered with his thick red finger planted halfway down the column. “that I make a mistake in explaining. I have got it now. But the writing?” “What else can be indicated by that right cuff so very shiny for five inches. such as it is. my dear sir. and the left one with the smooth patch near the elbow where you rest it upon the desk?” “Well. rather against the strict rules of your order. but China?” “The fish that you have tattooed immediately above your right wrist could only have been done in China. especially as.” Mr. but I see that there was nothing in it. Your right hand is quite a size larger than your left. will suffer shipwreck if I am so candid. in addition. and the muscles are more developed. Mr.’ you know. Watson. That trick of staining the fishes’ scales of a delicate pink is quite peculiar to China. Jabez Wilson laughed heavily. then. of course. ‘Omne ignotum pro magnifico.” “I begin to think. I never!” said he. You have worked with it. I forgot that. I have made a small study of tattoo marks and have even contributed to the literature of the subject. and my poor little reputation. you use an arc-and-compass breastpin.” “Ah.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 45 carpenter. “Well. This is what began Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Wilson?” “Yes. and the Freemasonry?” “I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you how I read that.” said Holmes. the matter becomes even more simple. the snuff. When. after all. “Here it is. I see a Chinese coin hanging from your watch-chain.” “Well.

7 Pope’s Court. Just two months ago. but now I Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . You just read it for yourself.” “Very good. sir. there is now another vacancy open which entitles a member of the League to a salary of 4 pounds a week for purely nominal services. Now. Apply in person on Monday. and the effect which this advertisement had upon your fortunes. near the City. “What on earth does this mean?” I ejaculated after I had twice read over the extraordinary announcement. mopping his forehead. U. All red-headed men who are sound in body and mind and above the age of twenty-one years.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 46 it all. isn’t it?” said he. Pennsylvania. S. Mr. at eleven o’clock. of Lebanon. to Duncan Ross. It’s not a very large affair. Sherlock Holmes. your household. at the offices of the League. A. “And now. Holmes chuckled and wriggled in his chair. 1890. Fleet Street. Doctor.” “It is The Morning Chronicle of April 27.” I took the paper from him and read as follows.. of the paper and the date. Wilson?” “Well. Mr. TO THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE: On account of the bequest of the late Ezekiah Hopkins. You will first make a note. as was his habit when in high spirits. off you go at scratch and tell us all about yourself. “I have a small pawnbroker’s business at Coburg Square. “It is a little off the beaten track.” said Jabez Wilson. Mr. Wilson. I used to be able to keep two assistants. are eligible. it is just as I have been telling you. and of late years it has not done more than just give me a living.

and I know very well that he could better himself and earn twice what I am able to give him. “The first thing that put us out was that advertisement. sir. with this very paper in his hand. the three of us. after all. for I am a widower and never had any family. indeed? You seem most fortunate in having an employee who comes under the full market price. and he’s not such a youth. he came down into the office just this day eight weeks. who does a bit of simple cooking and keeps the place clean—that’s all I have in the house. Mr. “His name is Vincent Spaulding.” “Oh.” “He is still with you. Holmes. It is not a common experience among employers in this age.” “What is the name of this obliging youth?” asked Sherlock Holmes. Mr. Wilson. either. But. He and a girl of fourteen. and he says: “‘I wish to the Lord. and I would have a job to pay him but that he is willing to come for half wages so as to learn the business. but on the whole he’s a good worker. and then diving down into the cellar like a rabbit into its hole to develop his pictures. Wilson. too. There’s no vice in him. sir.” said Mr. I presume?” “Yes. if he is satisfied. if we do nothing more. he has his faults. why should I put ideas in his head?” “Why. That is his main fault.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 47 only keep one. and we keep a roof over our heads and pay our debts. Spaulding. “Never was such a fellow for photography. I should not wish a smarter assistant. We live very quietly.’ Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Snapping away with a camera when he ought to be improving his mind. I don’t know that your assistant is not as remarkable as your advertisement. that I was a red-headed man. It’s hard to say his age.

Holmes. It’s worth quite a little fortune to any man who gets it. He was himself redArthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .’ “‘And what are they worth?’ I asked. and it need not interfere very much with one’s other occupations. and there is the address where you should apply for particulars. Mr. merely a couple of hundred a year. I am a very stay-at-home man. and I understand that there are more vacancies than there are men. ‘here’s another vacancy on the League of the Red-headed Men.’ said I. and I was always glad of a bit of news.’ “‘Why. so that the trustees are at their wits’ end what to do with the money. “‘Never. for the business has not been over-good for some years. In that way I didn’t know much of what was going on outside.’ “Well. “‘Tell me all about it. here’s a nice little crib all ready for me to step into. then?’ I asked. You see.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 48 “‘Why that?’ I asks. “‘Why. If my hair would only change colour. but the work is slight. what is it. I wonder at that. I was often weeks on end without putting my foot over the door-mat. for you are eligible yourself for one of the vacancies.’ “‘Why. showing me the advertisement.’ says he. “‘Oh. “‘Well ‘ said he. the League was founded by an American millionaire. and as my business came to me instead of my having to go to it. Ezekiah Hopkins. you can easily think that that made me prick up my ears. “‘Have you never heard of the League of the Red-headed Men?’ he asked with his eyes open. As far as I can make out. and an extra couple of hundred would have been very handy. ‘you can see for yourself that the League has a vacancy. who was very peculiar in his ways.

and he had a great sympathy for all red-headed men. Wilson. but perhaps it would hardly be worth your while to put yourself out of the way for the sake of a few hundred pounds. From north. it is a fact.’ he answered. again. Mr. so I just ordered him to put up the shutters for the day and to come right away with me. or dark red. and he wanted to do the old town a good turn. fiery red. gentlemen. so when he died it was found that he had left his enormous fortune in the hands of trustees. that my hair is of a very full and rich tint.’ said I. as you may see for yourselves. blazing. east. ‘You see it is really confined to Londoners. you would just walk in. Mr. “I never hope to see such a sight as that again. Fleet Street was choked with red-headed folk. Now. I have heard it is no use your applying if your hair is light red. He was very willing to have a holiday. and Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Vincent Spaulding seemed to know so much about it that I thought he might prove useful. ‘there would be millions of red-headed men who would apply. so that it seemed to me that if there was to be any competition in the matter I stood as good a chance as any man that I had ever met. if you cared to apply. with instructions to apply the interest to the providing of easy berths to men whose hair is of that colour.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 49 headed.’ “‘Not so many as you might think. and west every man who had a shade of red in his hair had tramped into the city to answer the advertisement.’ “Now. This American had started from London when he was young. Then. and to grown men.’ “‘But. south. so we shut the business up and started off for the address that was given us in the advertisement. Holmes. From all I hear it is splendid pay and very little to do. or anything but real bright.

some going up in hope. Jabez Wilson. When I saw how many were waiting. How he did it I could not imagine. and right up to the steps which led to the office. He said a few words to each candidate as he came up. “Pray continue your very interesting statement. ‘He has Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . but he pushed and pulled and butted until he got me through the crowd. there were not many who had the real vivid flame-coloured tint. after all.” “There was nothing in the office but a couple of wooden chairs and a deal table. as Spaulding said. and some coming back dejected. Every shade of colour they were—straw. when our turn came the little man was much more favourable to me than to any of the others. but we wedged in as well as we could and soon found ourselves in the office. lemon. However. liver.’ “‘And he is admirably suited for it. I would have given it up in despair. so that he might have a private word with us. There was a double stream upon the stair.” remarked Holmes as his client paused and refreshed his memory with a huge pinch of snuff. Getting a vacancy did not seem to be such a very easy matter. but Spaulding would not hear of it. and he closed the door as we entered. “‘This is Mr. ‘and he is willing to fill a vacancy in the League.” “Your experience has been a most entertaining one.’ the other answered.’ said my assistant. orange. clay. and then he always managed to find some fault in them which would disqualify them. behind which sat a small man with a head that was even redder than mine.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 50 Pope’s Court looked like a coster’s orange barrow. I should not have thought there were so many in the whole country as were brought together by that single advertisement. brick. but. Irish-setter.

‘that is very serious indeed! I am sorry to hear you say that. Duncan Ross. A groan of disappointment came up from below. of course.’ He stepped over to the window and shouted through it at the top of his voice that the vacancy was filled. and the folk all trooped away in different directions until there was not a red-head to be seen except my own and that of the manager. Wilson? Have you a family?’ “I answered that I had not. I am sure. ‘You will. for I thought that I was not to have the vacancy after all. Holmes. “His face fell immediately.’ said he. ‘is Mr. It is exceedingly unfortunate that you should be a bachelor. ‘There is water in your eyes. for the propagation and spread of the red-heads as well as for their maintenance. Mr.’ He took a step backward. for we have twice been deceived by wigs and once by paint. and congratulated me warmly on my success. “‘Dear me!’ he said gravely.’ “My face lengthened at this. But we have to be careful. and tugged until I yelled with the pain. Then suddenly he plunged forward. ‘I perceive that all is as it should be. I could tell you tales of cobbler’s wax which would disgust you with human nature. and I am myself one of the pensioners upon the fund left by our noble benefactor.’ said he. but after thinking it over for Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . however. The fund was. “‘My name. excuse me for taking an obvious precaution. Mr. Are you a married man. and gazed at my hair until I felt quite bashful.’ With that he seized my hair in both his hands. “‘It would be injustice to hesitate. wrung my hand. I cannot recall when I have seen anything so fine. cocked his head on one side.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 51 every requirement.’ said he as he released me.

You don’t comply with the conditions if you budge from the office during that time. Wilson!’ said Vincent Spaulding. but we must stretch a point in favour of a man with such a head of hair as yours. Mr.’ “‘And the work?’ “‘Is purely nominal. ‘I should be able to look after that for you.’ said I. it is a little awkward.’ “‘What would be the hours?’ I asked. never mind about that. especially Thursday and Friday evening. Besides.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 52 a few minutes he said that it would be all right. you have to be in the office. ‘the objection might be fatal. or at least in the building.’ “‘What do you call purely nominal?’ “‘Well. Mr. “‘Ten to two.’ “‘It’s only four hours a day. for I have a business already. ‘neither sickness nor business nor anything else.’ said I. and that he would see to anything that turned up. the whole time. and I should not think of leaving. I knew that my assistant was a good man. you forfeit your whole position forever.’ said Mr. Duncan Ross. The will is very clear upon that point.’ said I.’ said he. “‘No excuse will avail. When shall you be able to enter upon your new duties?’ “‘Well. which is just before pay-day. ‘And the pay?’ “‘Is 4 pounds a week. or you lose Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Holmes.’ “Now a pawnbroker’s business is mostly done of an evening. so it would suit me very well to earn a little in the mornings. “‘In the case of another. “‘Oh. There you must stay. “‘That would suit me very well. If you leave.

I was so pleased at my own good fortune. pens. to my surprise and delight. The table was set out ready for me. It seemed altogether past belief that anyone could make such a will. and blotting-paper. “Well. or that they would pay such a sum for doing anything so simple as copying out the Encyclopaedia Britannica. in the morning I determined to have a look at it anyhow. for I had quite persuaded myself that the whole affair must be some great hoax or fraud. and seven sheets of foolscap paper. good-bye. There is the first volume of it in that press. hardly knowing what to say or do. and with a quill-pen. but we provide this table and chair. everything was as right as possible.’ I answered. Jabez Wilson. I thought over the matter all day. He started me off upon the letter A. complimented me upon the amount that I had written. Mr. Vincent Spaulding did what he could to cheer me up. “Well. Will you be ready to-morrow?’ “‘Certainly. so I bought a penny bottle of ink.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 53 your billet. Duncan Ross was there to see that I got fairly to work.’ “‘And the work?’ “‘Is to copy out the Encyclopaedia Britannica. and by evening I was in low spirits again. You must find your own ink. However. and then he left me. but by bedtime I had reasoned myself out of the whole thing. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .’ He bowed me out of the room and I went home with my assistant. At two o’clock he bade me good-day. and Mr. and let me congratulate you once more on the important position which you have been fortunate enough to gain. but he would drop in from time to time to see that all was right with me. though what its object might be I could not imagine. I started off for Pope’s Court. “‘Then.

sir. and the same the week after. And then suddenly the whole business came to an end. he did not come in at all.” He held up a piece of white card-board about the size of a sheet of note-paper. and on Saturday the manager came in and planked down four golden sovereigns for my week’s work.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 54 and locked the door of the office after me.” “To an end?” “Yes. “Eight weeks passed away like this. and then. It cost me something in foolscap. Every morning I was there at ten. but the door was shut and locked. and you can read for yourself. and I had pretty nearly filled a shelf with my writings. It read in this fashion: THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE IS DISSOLVED. Here it is. Mr. and the billet was such a good one. of course. with a little square of card-board hammered on to the middle of the panel with a tack. that I would not risk the loss of it. And no later than this morning. and hoped with diligence that I might get on to the B’s before very long. and every afternoon I left at two. “This went on day after day. after a time. and suited me so well. I went to my work as usual at ten o’clock. for I was not sure when he might come. It was the same next week. and I had written about Abbots and Archery and Armour and Architecture and Attica. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Holmes. I never dared to leave the room for an instant. Still. Duncan Ross took to coming in only once of a morning. 1890. By degrees Mr. October 9.

” cried Holmes. ‘the gentleman at No.’ said he. I did not know what to do. who is an accountant living on the ground-floor. I can go elsewhere. but when I got to that address it was Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Holmes. at his new offices. but none of them seemed to know anything about it.” “No. Finally. Then I called at the offices round.” cried our client.’ “‘What.’ “‘Where could I find him?’ “‘Oh. “I really wouldn’t miss your case for the world. near St. sir. and I asked him if he could tell me what had become of the Red-headed League. “‘Well. the red-headed man?’ “‘Yes. 4. I went to the landlord. But there is. “I cannot see that there is anything very funny. no. ‘his name was William Morris. Duncan Ross was. Pray what steps did you take when you found the card upon the door?” “I was staggered. Then I asked him who Mr. He was a solicitor and was using my room as a temporary convenience until his new premises were ready.’ “I started off. shoving him back into the chair from which he had half risen. He answered that the name was new to him. He said that he had never heard of any such body. “If you can do nothing better than laugh at me.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 55 Sherlock Holmes and I surveyed this curt announcement and the rueful face behind it. It is most refreshingly unusual. Mr. if you will excuse my saying so. Yes. He moved out yesterday. until the comical side of the affair so completely overtopped every other consideration that we both burst out into a roar of laughter. flushing up to the roots of his flaming head.’ said I. Paul’s. 17 King Edward Street.’ “‘Oh. He did tell me the address. something just a little funny about it.

for it cost them two and thirty pounds. And. first. Jabez Wilson. This assistant of yours who first called your attention to the advertisement—how long had he been Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Holmes. But I want to find out about them. as I had heard that you were good enough to give advice to poor folk who were in need of it.” remarked Holmes. I did not wish to lose such a place without a struggle. Duncan Ross.” said Holmes. But that was not quite good enough.” “We shall endeavour to clear up these points for you.” “And what did you do then?” asked Holmes. I came right away to you. sir. and what their object was in playing this prank—if it was a prank—upon me. “I do not see that you have any grievance against this extraordinary league. so. one or two questions.” “Grave enough!” said Mr. On the contrary. It was a pretty expensive joke for them. and no one in it had ever heard of either Mr. and who they are. as I understand. William Morris or Mr. Wilson. “Your case is an exceedingly remarkable one. to say nothing of the minute knowledge which you have gained on every subject which comes under the letter A.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 56 a manufactory of artificial knee-caps. You have lost nothing by them. and I shall be happy to look into it. Mr.” “As far as you are personally concerned. and I took the advice of my assistant. “Why. From what you have told me I think that it is possible that graver issues hang from it than might at first sight appear. “I went home to Saxe-Coburg Square. Mr.” “No. But he could not help me in any way. richer by some 30 pounds. I have lost four pound a week.” “And you did very wisely. He could only say that if I waited I should hear by post. you are.

There’s never very much to do of a morning. He told me that a gypsy had done it for him when he was a lad.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 57 with you?” “About a month then. and I hope that by Monday we may come to a conclusion.” Holmes sat up in his chair in considerable excitement. Wilson.” “Why did you pick him?” “Because he was handy and would come cheap. “Have you ever observed that his ears are pierced for earrings?” “Yes. very quick in his ways. I had a dozen. “He is still with you?” “Oh. “I thought as much. sir. stout-built.” “Yes. though he’s not short of thirty.” said he. Has a white splash of acid upon his forehead.” “Was he the only applicant?” “No. To-day is Saturday. sinking back in deep thought. Mr.” “And has your business been attended to in your absence?” “Nothing to complain of.” “Hum!” said Holmes.” “At half-wages. I shall be happy to give you an opinion upon the subject in the course of a day or two. no hair on his face. sir. sir. in fact. I have only just left him. this Vincent Spaulding?” “Small.” “That will do.” “How did he come?” “In answer to an advertisement. yes.” “What is he like.

” He curled himself up in his chair. with his thin knees drawn up to his hawklike nose. My practice is never very absorbing. Watson? Could your patients spare you for a few hours?” “I have nothing to do to-day. James’s Hall this afternoon. and I beg that you won’t speak to me for fifty minutes. It is your commonplace. “the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. “It is a most mysterious business.” he remarked. “What do you think. Watson. “To smoke.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 58 “Well.” said Holmes. and there he sat with his eyes closed and his black clay pipe thrusting out like the bill of some strange bird.” he answered. when he suddenly sprang out of his chair with the gesture of a man who has made up his mind and put his pipe down upon the mantelpiece.” I answered frankly. featureless crimes which are really puzzling. I had come to the conclusion that he had dropped asleep. “what do you make of it all?” “I make nothing of it. I am going through the City first. then?” I asked. and indeed was nodding myself. which is rather more to my taste than Italian or French. But I must be prompt over this matter. “Sarasate plays at the St.” “What are you going to do. It is introspective. just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify.” “Then put on your hat and come. I observe that there is a good deal of German music on the programme. “It is quite a three pipe problem. Come along!” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “As a rule.” said Holmes when our visitor had left us. and I want to introspect. and we can have some lunch on the way.

announced the place where our red-headed client carried on his business. Finally he returned to the pawnbroker’s. and then down again to the corner. “Smart fellow. Three gilt balls and a brown board with “JABEZ WILSON” in white letters. who asked him to step in.” observed Holmes as we walked away. and. Then he walked slowly up the street. he went up to the door and knocked. shabby-genteel place. having thumped vigorously upon the pavement with his stick two or three times. in my judgment. and for daring I am not sure that he has not a claim to be third. with his eyes shining brightly between puckered lids. I have known something of him before. “He is. still looking keenly at the houses. It was instantly opened by a bright-looking. “I only wished to ask you how you would go from here to the Strand. Wilson’s assistant counts for a good deal in this mystery of the Red-headed League. closing the door. the fourth smartest man in London.” said I. little. upon a corner house.” “Third right. where a lawn of weedy grass and a few clumps of faded laurelbushes made a hard fight against a smoke-laden and uncongenial atmosphere.” “Evidently. “Thank you.” answered the assistant promptly. where four lines of dingy twostoried brick houses looked out into a small railed-in enclosure. the scene of the singular story which we had listened to in the morning. and a short walk took us to Saxe-Coburg Square. fourth left. “Mr. Sherlock Holmes stopped in front of it with his head on one side and looked it all over. I am sure that you Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . that. clean-shaven young fellow.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 59 We travelled by the Underground as far as Aldersgate.” said Holmes. It was a poky.

the Vegetarian Restaurant. not for talk.” “What then?” “The knees of his trousers. It was one of the main arteries which conveyed the traffic of the City to the north and west. We are spies in an enemy’s country.” The road in which we found ourselves as we turned round the corner from the retired Saxe-Coburg Square presented as great a contrast to it as the front of a picture does to the back.” “Not him. That carries us right on to the other block.” “Why did you beat the pavement?” “My dear doctor. The roadway was blocked with the immense stream of commerce flowing in a double tide inward and outward. the tobacconist. we’ve done our work. “Let me see.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 60 inquired your way merely in order that you might see him.” said Holmes. this is a time for observation.” “And what did you see?” “What I expected to see. We know something of SaxeCoburg Square. while the footpaths were black with the hurrying swarm of pedestrians. so it’s time we had some play. standing at the corner and glancing along the line. It was difficult to realize as we looked at the line of fine shops and stately business premises that they really abutted on the other side upon the faded and stagnant square which we had just quitted. There is Mortimer’s. A sandwich and a Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and McFarlane’s carriage-building depot. “I should like just to remember the order of the houses here. Let us now explore the parts which lie behind it. the Coburg branch of the City and Suburban Bank. It is a hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London. Doctor. the little newspaper shop. And now.

and his extreme exactness and astuteness represented. gently waving his long. as I have often thought. as it was possible to conceive. and then off to violin-land. no doubt. it would be as well. Then it was that the lust of the chase would suddenly come upon him. “You want to go home. All the afternoon he sat in the stalls wrapped in the most perfect happiness. When I saw him that afternoon so enwrapped in the music at St. keen-witted. the reaction against the poetic and contemplative mood which occasionally predominated in him.” My friend was an enthusiastic musician. and. thin fingers in time to the music. Doctor. as I knew well. In his singular character the dual nature alternately asserted itself. where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony. while his gently smiling face and his languid. being himself not only a very capable performer but a composer of no ordinary merit.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 61 cup of coffee. Holmes the relentless.” he remarked as we emerged.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums. he was never so truly formidable as when. The swing of his nature took him from extreme languor to devouring energy. “Yes. he had been lounging in his armchair amid his improvisations and his blackletter editions. the sleuth-hound. for days on end. and that his brilliant reasoning power would rise to the level of intuition. until those who were unacquainted with his methods would look askance at him as on a man whose knowledge was not that of other mortals. James’s Hall I felt that an evil time might be coming upon those whom he had set himself to hunt down. dreamy eyes were as unlike those of Holmes. ready-handed criminal agent.

This business at Coburg Square is serious.” “Very well. so kindly put your army revolver in your pocket. And. from the extraordinary story of the red-headed copier of the Encyclopaedia down to the visit to Saxe-Coburg Square. What was this nocturnal expedition. and yet from his words it was evident that he saw clearly not only what had happened but what was about to happen. but gave it up in despair and set the matter aside Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . But to-day being Saturday rather complicates matters. I say. Here I had heard what he had heard. Doctor.” He waved his hand. and the ominous words with which he had parted from me.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 62 “And I have some business to do which will take some hours. turned on his heel. there may be some little danger. I tried to puzzle it out. I had seen what he had seen.” “At what time?” “Ten will be early enough. I shall want your help tonight. but I was always oppressed with a sense of my own stupidity in my dealings with Sherlock Holmes. and what were we to do? I had the hint from Holmes that this smooth-faced pawnbroker’s assistant was a formidable man—a man who might play a deep game. and why should I go armed? Where were we going. I have every reason to believe that we shall be in time to stop it. while to me the whole business was still confused and grotesque.” “I shall be at Baker Street at ten. As I drove home to my house in Kensington I thought over it all.” “Why serious?” “A considerable crime is in contemplation. and disappeared in an instant among the crowd. I trust that I am not more dense than my neighbours.

Jones. while the other was a long. just a little too theoretical and fantastic. sad-faced man. Holmes. it is all right. and as I entered the passage I heard the sound of voices from above. “You may place considerable confidence in Mr. I confess that I miss my rubber. one of whom I recognized as Peter Jones. the official police agent. thin.” said the police agent loftily. which are. you see. of Scotland Yard? Let me introduce you to Mr. Two hansoms were standing at the door. as in that business of the Sholto murder and the Agra treasure. Merryweather. but he has the makings of a detective in him. “He has his own little methods. I think you know Mr.” said Jones in his consequential way. who is to be our companion in to-night’s adventure. Jones. “Watson.” “We’re hunting in couples again.” said Holmes. buttoning up his pea-jacket and taking his heavy hunting crop from the rack. “Our friend here is a wonderful man for starting a chase.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 63 until night should bring an explanation. Doctor. sir. and so through Oxford Street to Baker Street. All he wants is an old dog to help him to do the running down. It is the first Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “I hope a wild goose may not prove to be the end of our chase. “Ha! Our party is complete. if he won’t mind my saying so.” observed Mr. It is not too much to say that once or twice. On entering his room I found Holmes in animated conversation with two men.” “Oh. if you say so. with a very shiny hat and oppressively respectable frock-coat. Mr. “Still. he has been more nearly correct than the official force. Merryweather gloomily. It was a quarter-past nine when I started from home and made my way across the Park.” said the stranger with deference.

” said Sherlock Holmes. For you.” Sherlock Holmes was not very communicative during the long drive and lay back in the cab humming the tunes which he had heard in the afternoon. and I would rather have my bracelets on him than on any criminal in London.” my friend remarked. He’ll crack a crib in Scotland one week. the murderer. and I agree with you that he is at the head of his profession. we never know where to find the man himself. Watson and I will follow in the second. John Clay. thief.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 64 Saturday night for seven-and-twenty years that I have not had my rubber. He’s a remarkable man. I’ve been on his track for years and have never set eyes on him yet. and be raising money to build an orphanage in Cornwall the next.” “I think you will find. We rattled through an endless labyrinth of gas-lit streets until we emerged into Farrington Street.” “I hope that I may have the pleasure of introducing you tonight. If you two will take the first hansom. I’ve had one or two little turns also with Mr. Mr. Jones.” “John Clay. “that you will play for a higher stake to-night than you have ever done yet. and for you. and personally interested in the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and he himself has been to Eton and Oxford. His brain is as cunning as his fingers. He’s a young man. and though we meet signs of him at every turn.000 pounds. is young John Clay. and forger. and quite time that we started. however. smasher. Merryweather. His grandfather was a royal duke. Mr. “This fellow Merryweather is a bank director. but he is at the head of his profession. Merryweather. the stake will be some 30. It is past ten. “We are close there now. and that the play will be more exciting. it will be the man upon whom you wish to lay your hands.

Merryweather. while Holmes fell upon his knees upon the floor and. and. into a huge vault or cellar. which he opened for us.” We had reached the same crowded thoroughfare in which we had found ourselves in the morning. Merryweather. after opening a third door. earth-smelling passage. Might I beg that you would have the goodness to sit down upon one of those boxes. striking his stick upon the flags which lined the floor. and then conducted us down a dark. with the lantern and a magnifying lens. which was piled all round with crates and massive boxes. This also was opened. He is as brave as a bulldog and as tenacious as a lobster if he gets his claws upon anyone. I thought it as well to have Jones with us also. with a very injured expression upon his face. and not to interfere?” The solemn Mr. which terminated at another formidable gate. He is not a bad fellow. Merryweather perched himself upon a crate. and they are waiting for us. which ended in a very massive iron gate.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 65 matter. “You are not very vulnerable from above. it sounds quite hollow!” he remarked. looking up in surprise. “I must really ask you to be a little more quiet!” said Holmes severely. Our cabs were dismissed. though an absolute imbecile in his profession. dear me. began to examine minutely the cracks between Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . He has one positive virtue. Within there was a small corridor.” Holmes remarked as he held up the lantern and gazed about him. “Why. “Nor from below. and led down a flight of winding stone steps.” said Mr. Mr. “You have already imperilled the whole success of our expedition. we passed down a narrow passage and through a side door. and so. Here we are. following the guidance of Mr. Merryweather stopped to light a lantern.

Merryweather.” observed Holmes. Then they will not lose a minute.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 66 the stones. Doctor—as no doubt you have divined—in the cellar of the City branch of one of the principal London banks. we must put the screen over that dark lantern.” whispered the director. and he will explain to you that there are reasons why the more daring criminals of London should take a considerable interest in this cellar at present. In the meantime Mr. “We have had several warnings that an attempt might be made upon it. Mr.” “Which were very well justified.000 napoleons packed between layers of lead foil. Our reserve of bullion is much larger at present than is usually kept in a single branch office. and that it is still lying in our cellar. for the sooner they do their work the longer time they will have for their escape. I had brought a pack of cards in my pocket. “for they can hardly take any steps until the good pawnbroker is safely in bed. We are at present. “We have at least an hour before us.” “It is our French gold. The crate upon which I sit contains 2.” “And sit in the dark?” “I am afraid so.000 napoleons from the Bank of France. I expect that within an hour matters will come to a head. and the directors have had misgivings upon the subject. and Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “Your French gold?” “Yes. for he sprang to his feet again and put his glass in his pocket. We had occasion some months ago to strengthen our resources and borrowed for that purpose 30. “And now it is time that we arranged our little plans.” he remarked. It has become known that we have never had occasion to unpack the money. Merryweather is the chairman of directors. A few seconds sufficed to satisfy him.

These are daring men. Jones?” “l have an inspector and two officers waiting at the front door. when I flash a light upon them. upon the top of the wooden case behind which I crouched.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 67 I thought that. I hope that you have done what I asked you. and do you conceal yourselves behind those. To me. and in the cold dank air of the vault. Watson. yet it appeared to me that the night must have almost gone.” I placed my revolver. cocked. first of all. there was something depressing and subduing in the sudden gloom. I shall stand behind this crate. And. and the dawn be breaking above us. My limbs were weary and stiff. they may do us some harm unless we are careful. “They have but one retreat. close in swiftly. you might have your rubber after all. and Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . we must choose our positions. But I see that the enemy’s preparations have gone so far that we cannot risk the presence of a light. “That is back through the house into Saxe-Coburg Square. The smell of hot metal remained to assure us that the light was still there. Holmes shot the slide across the front of his lantern and left us in pitch darkness—such an absolute darkness as I have never before experienced. yet my nerves were worked up to the highest pitch of tension. ready to flash out at a moment’s notice. If they fire. as we were a partie carrée. Then. with my nerves worked up to a pitch of expectancy. and though we shall take them at a disadvantage.” “Then we have stopped all the holes.” What a time it seemed! From comparing notes afterwards it was but an hour and a quarter. And now we must be silent and wait. have no compunction about shooting them down. for I feared to change my position.” whispered Holmes.

was but momentary. however. The other dived down the hole. Over the edge there peeped a clean-cut. From my position I could look over the case in the direction of the floor. through which streamed the light of a lantern. one of the broad. tearing sound. until one knee rested upon the edge. with its writhing fingers. With a rending. Suddenly my eyes caught the glint of a light. Then it lengthened out until it became a yellow line. and I’ll swing for it!” Sherlock Holmes had sprung out and seized the intruder by the collar.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 68 my hearing was so acute that I could not only hear the gentle breathing of my companions. In another instant he stood at the side of the hole and was hauling after him a companion. lithe and small like himself. almost womanly hand. Then it was withdrawn as suddenly as it appeared. a white. a gash seemed to open and a hand appeared. “Have you the chisel and the bags? Great Scott! Jump. For a minute or more the hand. At first it was but a lurid spark upon the stone pavement. with a hand on either side of the aperture. sighing note of the bank director. which felt about in the centre of the little area of light. and all was dark again save the single lurid spark which marked a chink between the stones. protruded out of the floor. Its disappearance. which looked keenly about it. gaping hole. without any warning or sound. and then. but I could distinguish the deeper. white stones turned over upon its side and left a square. with a pale face and a shock of very red hair. drew itself shoulderhigh and waist-high.” he whispered. and then. Archie. boyish face. heavier in-breath of the bulky Jones from the thin. “It’s all clear. and I heard the sound of rending cloth as Jones clutched at his skirts. The light flashed Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . jump.

also. I must compliment you.” said Jones. “You may not be aware that I have royal blood in my veins.” the other answered with the utmost coolness.” said Holmes.” “There are three men waiting for him at the door.” “So I see.” “I beg that you will not touch me with your filthy hands.” said Holmes blandly. “You have no chance at all. Holmes. “Oh. “Your red-headed idea was very new and effective. Just hold out while I fix the derbies.” “You’ll see your pal again presently. “Really. Merryweather as we followed Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “It’s no use. “I fancy that my pal is all right. “Well. “He’s quicker at climbing down holes than I am.” “And I you.” said Jones with a stare and a snigger.” said Mr. John Clay. He made a sweeping bow to the three of us and walked quietly off in the custody of the detective.” Holmes answered. and the pistol clinked upon the stone floor. Mr.” said John Clay serenely. sir. indeed! You seem to have done the thing very completely. but Holmes’s hunting crop came down on the man’s wrist. march upstairs. Have the goodness.’” “All right. when you address me always to say ‘sir’ and ‘please. would you please. though I see you have got his coattails.” remarked our prisoner as the handcuffs clattered upon his wrists.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 69 upon the barrel of a revolver. where we can get a cab to carry your Highness to the police-station?” “That is better.

” “I have had one or two little scores of my own to settle with Mr.” said Holmes. and what was it to them. John Clay. “I have been at some small expense over this matter. the other rogue incites the man to apply for it. The 4 pounds a week was a lure which must draw him.” “You see. “it was perfectly obvious from the first that the only possible object of this rather fantastic business of the advertisement of the League. but. really. From the time that I heard of the assistant having come for half wages. but beyond that I am amply repaid by having had an experience which is in many ways unique. “I do not know how the bank can thank you or repay you. The method was no doubt suggested to Clay’s ingenious mind by the colour of his accomplice’s hair. which I shall expect the bank to refund.” he explained in the early hours of the morning as we sat over a glass of whisky and soda in Baker Street. and together they manage to secure his absence every morning in the week. and by hearing the very remarkable narrative of the Red-headed League.” “But how could you guess what the motive was?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and the copying of the Encyclopaedia. It was a curious way of managing it. who were playing for thousands? They put in the advertisement. must be to get this not over-bright pawnbroker out of the way for a number of hours every day.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 70 them from the cellar. one rogue has the temporary office. it was obvious to me that he had some strong motive for securing the situation. it would be difficult to suggest a better. There is no doubt that you have detected and defeated in the most complete manner one of the most determined attempts at bank robbery that have ever come within my experience. Watson.

however. I walked round the corner. I should have suspected a mere vulgar intrigue. I hardly looked at his face. as I hoped. was out of the question. You must yourself have remarked how worn. I was ascertaining whether the cellar stretched out in front or behind. Then I rang the bell. It must. saw the City and Suburban Bank abutted on our friend’s premises. When you drove home after the concert I called upon Scotland Yard and upon the chairman of the bank directors. We have had some skirmishes. Then I made inquiries as to this mysterious assistant and found that I had to deal with one of the coolest and most daring criminals in London. The only remaining point was what they were burrowing for. They spoke of those hours of burrowing. and felt that I had solved my problem.” “And how could you tell that they would make their attempt toArthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . He was doing something in the cellar—something which took many hours a day for months on end. with the result that you have seen. the assistant answered it. and stained they were. and such an expenditure as they were at. and there was nothing in his house which could account for such elaborate preparations. The man’s business was a small one. It was not in front. What could it be. I surprised you by beating upon the pavement with my stick. then. and. “So far I had got when we went to visit the scene of action. His knees were what I wished to see. but we had never set eyes upon each other before. be something out of the house. and his trick of vanishing into the cellar. That. once more? I could think of nothing save that he was running a tunnel to some other building.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 71 “Had there been women in the house. The cellar! There was the end of this tangled clew. What could it be? I thought of the assistant’s fondness for photography. wrinkled.

“‘L’homme c’est rien—l’oeuvre c’est tout.” “You reasoned it out beautifully. as it would give them two days for their escape. yawning. or the bullion might be removed.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 72 night?” I asked. These little problems help me to do so. when they closed their League offices that was a sign that they cared no longer about Mr.’ as Gustave Flaubert wrote to George Sand.” said I. “Well. as it might be discovered. My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence. perhaps. after all. He shrugged his shoulders. “Alas! I already feel it closing in upon me.” “It saved me from ennui. “Well. it is of some little use. For all these reasons I expected them to come to-night. But it was essential that they should use it soon.” “And you are a benefactor of the race. and yet every link rings true.” he answered. Saturday would suit them better than any other day.” I exclaimed in unfeigned admiration “It is so long a chain.” he remarked. Jabez Wilson’s presence—in other words.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . that they had completed their tunnel.

as a rule. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. and leading to the most outre results.” remarked Holmes.” “And yet I am not convinced of it. there is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace. gently remove the roofs. neither fascinating nor artistic. and vulgar enough.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 73 Adventure III. the wonderful chains of events. “M Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . the strange coincidences. working through generation. perhaps. in your position of unofficial adviser and helper to everybody who is absolutely puzzled. it must be confessed. where more stress is laid. and yet the result is.” said Sherlock Holmes as we sat on either side of the fire in his lodgings at Baker Street.” “A certain selection and discretion must be used in producing a realistic effect. and peep in at the queer things which are going on.” I said. the plannings. which to an observer contain the vital essence of the whole matter. “This is wanting in the police report. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand. bald enough. “The cases which come to light in the papers are. A CASE OF IDENTITY y dear fellow. “Of course. “life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. Depend upon it. the cross-purposes.” I answered. upon the platitudes of the magistrate than upon the details. We have in our police reports realism pushed to its extreme limits.” I smiled and shook my head. hover over this great city. it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable. “I can quite understand your thinking so.

” “Indeed. But here”—I picked up the morning paper from the ground—“let us put it to a practical test. the blow. as it happens. Doctor.’ There is half a column of print. the drink. taking the paper and glancing his eye down it. which. It is a little souvenir from the King of Bohemia in return for my assistance in the case of the Irene Adler papers. the bruise. The husband was a teetotaler. you are brought in contact with all that is strange and bizarre. “I forgot that I had not seen you for some weeks. you will allow. The crudest of writers could invent nothing more crude. Take a pinch of snuff. Its splendour was in such contrast to his homely ways and simple life that I could not help commenting upon it.” He held out his snuffbox of old gold. but I know without reading it that it is all perfectly familiar to me. There is. of course. your example is an unfortunate one for your argument. “Ah. and the conduct complained of was that he had drifted into the habit of winding up every meal by taking out his false teeth and hurling them at his wife. I was engaged in clearing up some small points in connection with it. Here is the first heading upon which I come. the push.” said he.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 74 throughout three continents. ‘A husband’s cruelty to his wife. there was no other woman. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “This is the Dundas separation case. and acknowledge that I have scored over you in your example. with a great amethyst in the centre of the lid.” said Holmes. glancing at a remarkable brilliant which sparkled upon his finger. the other woman. and. the sympathetic sister or landlady. is not an action likely to occur to the imagination of the average story-teller.” “And the ring?” I asked.

as of the swimmer who leaves the bank. and a large curling red feather in a broad-brimmed hat which was tilted in a coquettish Duchess of Devonshire fashion over her ear. hesitating fashion at our windows. They are important. is the motive. or I am much mistaken. for this is one of my clients. you understand. while her body oscillated backward and forward.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 75 “It was from the reigning family of Holland. It is possible. without being interesting. she hurried across the road. that I may have something better before very many minutes are over. Looking over his shoulder. there is nothing which presents any features of interest. with a plunge. save for one rather intricate matter which has been referred to me from Marseilles. Indeed. and we heard the sharp clang of the bell. but none which present any feature of interest. I saw that on the pavement opposite there stood a large woman with a heavy fur boa round her neck. In these cases. The larger crimes are apt to be the simpler. as a rule. who have been good enough to chronicle one or two of my little problems. though the matter in which I served them was of such delicacy that I cannot confide it even to you. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . From under this great panoply she peeped up in a nervous. and for the quick analysis of cause and effect which gives the charm to an investigation.” “And have you any on hand just now?” I asked with interest.” He had risen from his chair and was standing between the parted blinds gazing down into the dull neutral-tinted London street. I have found that it is usually in unimportant matters that there is a field for the observation. however. for the bigger the crime the more obvious. Suddenly. and her fingers fidgeted with her glove buttons. “Some ten or twelve.

sir. “else how could you know all that?” “Never mind. Perhaps I have trained myself to see what others overlook.” she cried. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . but is not sure that the matter is not too delicate for communication. Etherege.” said Holmes.” As he spoke there was a tap at the door. and the usual symptom is a broken bell wire. “Oscillation upon the pavement always means an affaire de coeur. and. entered to announce Miss Mary Sutherland. She would like advice.” Then. Sherlock Holmes welcomed her with the easy courtesy for which he was remarkable. but that the maiden is not so much angry as perplexed. and the boy in buttons. because I heard of you from Mrs. good-humoured face. “that with your short sight it is a little trying to do so much typewriting?” “I did at first. he looked her over in the minute and yet abstracted fashion which was peculiar to him.” said Holmes. But here she comes in person to resolve our doubts. “it is my business to know things. “You’ve heard about me. “Do you not find. or grieved.” he said. Holmes. If not. And yet even here we may discriminate. while the lady herself loomed behind his small black figure like a full-sailed merchantman behind a tiny pilot boat. throwing his cigarette into the fire. suddenly realizing the full purport of his words.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 76 “I have seen those symptoms before. with fear and astonishment upon her broad. Here we may take it that there is a love matter. “but now I know where the letters are without looking. When a woman has been seriously wronged by a man she no longer oscillates. Mr. she gave a violent start and looked up. why should you come to consult me?” “I came to you.” she answered. having closed the door and bowed her into an armchair. laughing.

He would not go to the police. my stepfather.” said Holmes.” “Why did you come away to consult me in such a hurry?” asked Sherlock Holmes. mother is alive and well. I did bang out of the house. for he was very superior. Holmes. I’m not rich.” “Your father. and so at last. and I would give it all to know what has become of Mr. Holmes. which wasn’t near Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and a man who was nearly fifteen years younger than herself. and he left a tidy business behind him. when she married again so soon after father’s death. too. but when Mr. Again a startled look came over the somewhat vacuous face of Miss Mary Sutherland.” she said. besides the little that I make by the machine.” “Yes. I wish you would do as much for me. which mother carried on with Mr.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 77 whose husband you found so easy when the police and everyone had given him up for dead. “Yes. for he is only five years and two months older than myself. the foreman.” “And your mother is alive?” “Oh. Mr. Father was a plumber in the Tottenham Court Road. it made me mad. Hardy. I wasn’t best pleased. though it sounds funny. Oh. my father—took it all. Mr. I call him father. yes. “your stepfather. Windibank—that is. “for it made me angry to see the easy way in which Mr. and I just on with my things and came right away to you. surely. being a traveller in wines. Windibank came he made her sell the business. with his finger-tips together and his eyes to the ceiling. but still I have a hundred a year in my own right. and he would not go to you. They got 4700 pounds for the goodwill and interest. Hosmer Angel. since the name is different. as he would do nothing and kept on saying that there was no harm done.

Holmes. on the contrary he had listened with the greatest concentration of attention. but you understand that as long as I live at home I don’t wish to be a burden to them. but.” said Holmes. Hosmer Angel. and I can often do from fifteen to twenty sheets in a-day. “I met him first at the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Dr. It is quite separate and was left me by my uncle Ned in Auckland. and I find that I can do pretty well with what I earn at typewriting.” I had expected to see Sherlock Holmes impatient under this rambling and inconsequential narrative. Watson. with what you earn into the bargain. It is in New Zealand stock. “does it come out of the business?” “Oh. and so they have the use of the money just while I am staying with them. “Your own little income.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 78 as much as father could have got if he had been alive.” A flush stole over Miss Sutherland’s face.” “You interest me extremely. “And since you draw so large a sum as a hundred a year.” said Holmes. “This is my friend. It brings me twopence a sheet.” “I could do with much less than that. I believe that a single lady can get on very nicely upon an income of about 60 pounds.” he asked. but I can only touch the interest. paying 4½ per cent. Two thousand five hundred pounds was the amount. Of course. no. sir. Mr. and she picked nervously at the fringe of her jacket. Mr. Kindly tell us now all about your connection with Mr. Windibank draws my interest every quarter and pays it over to mother. before whom you can speak as freely as before myself.” “You have made your position very clear to me. that is only just for the time. you no doubt travel a little and indulge yourself in every way.

And he said that I had nothing fit to wear. Windibank came back from France he was very annoyed at your having gone to the ball. “They used to send father tickets when he was alive. Hosmer Angel could not come to the house any more. but we went.” she said. a gentleman called Mr. I remember. Then at the gasfitters’ ball you met. sir. and said there was no use denying anything to a woman. Hosmer Angel.” “I suppose. But this time I was set on going. as I understand. Hosmer Angel. and sent them to mother. and it was there I met Mr. Hardy. when I had my purple plush that I had never so much as taken out of the drawer. I met him that night. well. He wouldn’t have any visitors if he could help it.” “Yes. Mr.” said Holmes. he went off to France upon the business of the firm. when all father’s friends were to be there. I met him twice for walks. but after that father came back again. and he used to say Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . with Mr. for what right had he to prevent? He said the folk were not fit for us to know. At last. mother and I. Holmes. you know father didn’t like anything of the sort.” “I see. and he called next day to ask if we had got home all safe. He would get quite mad if I wanted so much as to join a Sunday-school treat. He laughed. and after that we met him—that is to say. and I would go. and Mr. and then afterwards they remembered us. Windibank did not wish us to go.” “No?” “Well.” “Oh. Mr. and shrugged his shoulders. for she would have her way. when nothing else would do.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 79 gasfitters’ ball. who used to be our foreman. He never did wish us to go anywhere. he was very good about it. “that when Mr.

father was going off to France again in a week. I took the letters in in the morning. so there was no need for father to know. But then.” “Where did he live. but when they were typewritten he always felt that the machine had come between us.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and the little things that he would think of.” “And you don’t know his address?” “No—except that it was Leadenhall Street. and I had not got mine yet. Mr. Mr. I don’t know. and he used to write every day. so I offered to typewrite them. We could write in the meantime. like he did his. and Hosmer wrote and said that it would be safer and better not to see each other until he had gone.” “Were you engaged to the gentleman at this time?” “Oh. Holmes. Holmes. then?” “He slept on the premises. to be left till called for. Mr. Holmes. yes.” “Where did you address your letters. Hosmer—Mr. Hosmer Angel? Did he make no attempt to see you?” “Well.” “But how about Mr. a woman wants her own circle to begin with. That will just show you how fond he was of me. but he wouldn’t have that. We were engaged after the first walk that we took. then?” “To the Leadenhall Street Post-Office.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 80 that a woman should be happy in her own family circle. Angel—was a cashier in an office in Leadenhall Street—and—” “What office?” “That’s the worst of it. for he said that when I wrote them they seemed to come from me. He said that if they were sent to the office he would be chaffed by all the other clerks about having letters from a lady. as I used to say to mother.

whispering fashion of speech. and it had left him with a weak throat. I began to ask about father.” “Well. Then. with my hands on the Testament.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Even his voice was gentle. and mother said she would make it all right with him. Hosmer Angel?” “He was a very shy man. and what happened when Mr. he told me. and a hesitating. Mr. and he wore tinted glasses against the glare. but his eyes were weak. Mother was all in his favour from the first and was even fonder of him than I was. Windibank. He was in dreadful earnest and made me swear. Holmes. Can you remember any other little things about Mr. Very retiring and gentlemanly he was. but the letter came back to me on the very morning of the wedding. so I wrote to father at Bordeaux.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 81 “It was most suggestive. just as mine are. He would rather walk with me in the evening than in the daylight. Hosmer Angel came to the house again and proposed that we should marry before father came back. but I didn’t want to do anything on the sly. He’d had the quinsy and swollen glands when he was young. Mother said he was quite right to make me swear. Mr. when they talked of marrying within the week. “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” said Holmes. and that it was a sign of his passion. He was always well dressed. but just to tell him afterwards. where the company has its French offices. but they both said never to mind about father. I didn’t quite like that. Holmes. returned to France?” “Mr. It seemed funny that I should ask his leave. your stepfather. as he was only a few years older than me. that whatever happened I would always be true to him. for he said that he hated to be conspicuous. very neat and plain.

then?” “Yes. Hosmer came for us in a hansom. Mr. that some unforeseen catastrophe has occurred to him?” “Yes. and we were to have breakfast afterwards at the St.” “Ha! that was unfortunate. That was last Friday. but what has happened since gives a meaning to it. sir. no. and when the cabman got down from the box and looked there was no one there! The cabman said that he could not imagine what had become of him. then. but he never did. sir! He was too good and kind to leave me so. near King’s Cross. Your wedding was arranged. and that even if something quite unforeseen occurred to separate us. We got to the church first. for he had started to England just before it arrived. Was it to be in church?” “Yes. Holmes. I was always to remember that I was pledged to him. And then I think that what he foresaw Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . for he had seen him get in with his own eyes. “Oh. and when the four-wheeler drove up we waited for him to step out.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 82 “It missed him. and that he would claim his pledge sooner or later. for the Friday. It seemed strange talk for a wedding-morning. then. Pancras Hotel. sir. or else he would not have talked so.” said Holmes. sir. and I have never seen or heard anything since then to throw any light upon what became of him. all the morning he was saying to me that. but as there were two of us he put us both into it and stepped himself into a fourwheeler. I believe that he foresaw some danger. I was to be true.” “Most certainly it does. Your own opinion is. Saviour’s. which happened to be the only other cab in the street. It was to be at St. but very quietly.” “It seems to me that you have been very shamefully treated. whatever happened. Why.

” “Then what has happened to him?” “You will leave that question in my hands. And yet. and said that I was never to speak of the matter again. what interest could anyone have in bringing me to the doors of the church. or if he had married me and got my money settled on him. and he seemed to think. Let the weight of the matter rest upon me now. with me. and I can’t sleep a wink at night.” “Then you don’t think I’ll see him again?” “I fear not.” “And your father? Did you tell him?” “Yes.” said Holmes.” She pulled a little handkerchief out of her muff and began to sob heavily into it. it drives me half-mad to think of it.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 83 happened. “I shall glance into the case for you. and then leaving me? Now. what could have happened? And why could he not write? Oh. if he had borrowed my money. there might be some reason. rising.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “But you have no notion as to what it could have been?” “None. “and I have no doubt that we shall reach some definite result. As he said. and do not let your mind dwell upon it further. and that I should hear of Hosmer again. How did your mother take the matter?” “She was angry. Above all. Hosmer Angel vanish from your memory. that something had happened. but Hosmer was very independent about money and never would look at a shilling of mine. I should like an accurate description of him and any letters of his which you can spare. try to let Mr.” “One more question. as he has done from your life.

he leaned back in his chair. She laid her little bundle of papers upon the table and went her way. I understand. “I found her more interesting than her little problem. “Quite an interesting study. Then he took down from the rack the old and oily clay pipe. and remember the advice which I have given you. You will find parallel cases.” said she. with the thick blue cloud-wreaths spinning up from him.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 84 “I advertised for him in last Saturday’s Chronicle. Mr. and. Sherlock Holmes sat silent for a few minutes with his fingertips still pressed together. I shall be true to Hosmer.” “Thank you. is rather a trite one. Angel’s address you never had. You will leave the papers here. and do not allow it to affect your life. and a look of infinite languor in his face. “Here is the slip and here are four letters from him.” For all the preposterous hat and the vacuous face. And your address?” “No. and his gaze directed upward to the ceiling. but I cannot do that. by the way. Holmes. You have made your statement very clearly. if you Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “You are very kind. which. He shall find me ready when he comes back. with a promise to come again whenever she might be summoned.” “Mr. there was something noble in the simple faith of our visitor which compelled our respect. Camberwell.” “Thank you. 31 Lyon Place.” he observed. which was to him as a counsellor. Let the whole incident be a sealed book. Where is your father’s place of business?” “He travels for Westhouse & Marbank. that maiden. having lit it. the great claret importers of Fenchurch Street. his legs stretched out in front of him.

My first glance is always at a woman’s sleeve. hanging gold earrings. rather darker than coffee colour.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 85 consult my index. In a man it is perhaps better first to take the knee of the trouser. Her gloves were greyish and were worn through at the right forefinger. what did you gather from that woman’s appearance? Describe it. with a little purple plush at the neck and sleeves. she had a slate-coloured. As you Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Watson. and a general air of being fairly well-to-do in a vulgar. easy-going way. comfortable. in Andover in ‘77. I can never bring you to realize the importance of sleeves.” “You appeared to read a good deal upon her which was quite invisible to me. Watson. but you have hit upon the method. and a fringe of little black jet ornaments. Never trust to general impressions. Old as is the idea. with black beads sewn upon it. “Not invisible but unnoticed. my boy. She had small round. however. Now. with a feather of a brickish red.” Sherlock Holmes clapped his hands softly together and chuckled. and there was something of the sort at The Hague last year. but concentrate yourself upon details.” I remarked. there were one or two details which were new to me. You did not know where to look. Her dress was brown.” “Well. the suggestiveness of thumb-nails. and so you missed all that was important. It is true that you have missed everything of importance. broad-brimmed straw hat. Her jacket was black. “’Pon my word. you are coming along wonderfully. You have really done very well indeed. Her boots I didn’t observe. or the great issues that may hang from a boot-lace. and you have a quick eye for colour. But the maiden herself was most instructive.

in passing. and. the one having a slightly decorated toe-cap. third. has come away from home with odd boots. I then glanced at her face. as I always was. instead of being right across the broadest part. which is a most useful material for showing traces. One was buttoned only in the two lower buttons out of five. when you see that a young lady.” “But. but you did not apparently see that both glove and finger were stained with violet ink. half-buttoned. which seemed to surprise her. and the other at the first. otherwise neatly dressed. It must have been this morning. You observed that her right glove was torn at the forefinger. by my friend’s incisive reasoning. Watson. The sewing-machine. All this is amusing.” “And what else?” I asked. keenly interested.” “It surprised me. but I must go back to business. and on the side of it farthest from the thumb. She had written in a hurry and dipped her pen too deep. leaves a similar mark. Now. or the mark would not remain clear upon the finger. was beautifully defined. Would you mind reading me the advertised Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I was then much surprised and interested on glancing down to observe that. it was obvious. “I noted. The double line a little above the wrist. surely. that she had written a note before leaving home but after being fully dressed. it is no great deduction to say that she came away in a hurry. but only on the left arm. though the boots which she was wearing were not unlike each other. of the hand type.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 86 observe. where the typewritist presses against the table. they were really odd ones. this woman had plush upon her sleeves. and the other a plain one. observing the dint of a pince-nez at either side of her nose. though rather elementary. I ventured a remark upon short sight and typewriting. and fifth. as this was.

and grey Harris tweed trousers. “As to the letters. strongly built. Known to have been employed in an office in Leadenhall Street. seven in. with brown gaiters over elastic-sided boots. which will no doubt strike you. black waistcoat. in height.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 87 description of Mr. save that he quotes Balzac once. One is to a firm in the City. There is a date. that was not the point. glancing over them. bushy. sallow complexion.” “Of what?” “My dear fellow. a gentleman named Hosmer Angel. but no superscription except Leadenhall Street. slight infirmity of speech. “Missing [it said] on the morning of the fourteenth. Look at the neat little ‘Hosmer Angel’ at the bottom.” said Holmes. but the signature is typewritten. in black frockcoat faced with silk. which is rather vague. a little bald in the centre. Was dressed. when last seen.” he continued.” I remarked. the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . is it possible you do not see how strongly it bears upon the case?” “I cannot say that I do unless it were that he wished to be able to deny his signature if an action for breach of promise were instituted. “Not only that. There is one remarkable point. we may call it conclusive.” “They are typewritten. About five ft.” “No. The point about the signature is very suggestive—in fact. Anybody bringing—” “That will do. “they are very commonplace. black side-whiskers and moustache. Angel. Absolutely no clew in them to Mr. black hair. gold Albert chain. Hosmer Angel?” I held the little printed slip to the light. you see. however. tinted glasses. However. which should settle the matter. I shall write two letters.

I left him then. Doctor. with his long. still puffing at his black clay pipe. It was not until close upon six o’clock that I found myself free and was able to spring into a hansom and drive to Baker Street.” I had had so many reasons to believe in my friend’s subtle powers of reasoning and extraordinary energy in action that I felt that he must have some solid grounds for the assured and easy demeanour with which he treated the singular mystery which he had been called upon to fathom. I found Sherlock Holmes alone. in the case of the King of Bohemia and of the Irene Adler photograph. but when I looked back to the weird business of ‘The Sign of Four’. A formidable array of bottles and testArthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 88 other is to the young lady’s stepfather. And now. asking him whether he could meet us here at six o’clock tomorrow evening. and the whole of next day I was busy at the bedside of the sufferer. so we may put our little problem upon the shelf for the interim. half asleep. A professional case of great gravity was engaging my own attention at the time. however. and the extraordinary circumstances connected with ‘A Study in Scarlet’. we can do nothing until the answers to those letters come. I felt that it would be a strange tangle indeed which he could not unravel. It is just as well that we should do business with the male relatives. half afraid that I might be too late to assist at the denouement of the little mystery. Mr. Once only had I known him to fail. with the conviction that when I came again on the next evening I would find that he held in his hands all the clews which would lead up to the identity of the disappearing bridegroom of Miss Mary Sutherland. thin form curled up in the recesses of his armchair. Windibank.

placed his shiny top-hat upon the sideboard. Mr. some of the details are of interest. you know. “Oh. “Well. told me that he had spent his day in the chemical work which was so dear to him. sir.” said Holmes. with a bland. some thirty years of age. no. insinuating manner. “Yes. There was never any mystery in the matter. and with a slight bow sidled down into the nearest chair. He shot a questioning glance at each of us. It was the bisulphate of baryta. Come in!” The man who entered was a sturdy. “Good-evening. with the pungent cleanly smell of hydrochloric acid. have you solved it?” I asked as I entered.” said Holmes.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 89 tubes. as I said yesterday. James Windibank. The only drawback is that there is no law. Mr. James Windibank. “He has written to me to say that he would be here at six. “I think that this typewritten letter is from you. and sallow-skinned. clean-shaven.” “No. “This is the girl’s stepfather. but I am not quite my own master. that! I thought of the salt that I have been working upon. then. though. that can touch the scoundrel. I fear. when we heard a heavy footfall in the passage and a tap at the door. I am sorry that Miss Sutherland has Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . middle-sized fellow. and Holmes had not yet opened his lips to reply. in which you made an appointment with me for six o’clock?” “Yes. and a pair of wonderfully sharp and penetrating grey eyes. I am afraid that I am a little late. the mystery!” I cried. and what was his object in deserting Miss Sutherland?” The question was hardly out of my mouth.” “Who was he.

glancing keenly at Holmes with his bright little eyes. “It is a curious thing. that in every case there is some little slurring over of the ‘e. Windibank gave a violent start and dropped his gloves. it is a useless expense. I have here four letters which purport to come Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Windibank. “I am delighted to hear it.” remarked Holmes. “that a typewriter has really quite as much individuality as a man’s handwriting. “And now I will show you what is really a very interesting study.” Holmes continued. but those are the more obvious. impulsive girl. as you are not connected with the official police. Windibank. and some wear only on one side. Mr. Of course. Mr. no two of them write exactly alike. but it is not pleasant to have a family misfortune like this noised abroad. It is a subject to which I have devoted some little attention. It was quite against my wishes that she came. Some letters get more worn than others.” said Holmes quietly. I did not mind you so much.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 90 troubled you about this little matter. but she is a very excitable.’ There are fourteen other characteristics. “I think of writing another little monograph some of these days on the typewriter and its relation to crime.” our visitor answered. for I think it is far better not to wash linen of the sort in public. for how could you possibly find this Hosmer Angel?” “On the contrary.” “We do all our correspondence with this machine at the office.” Mr.’ and a slight defect in the tail of the ‘r. Now. Hosmer Angel.” he said. “I have every reason to believe that I will succeed in discovering Mr. Besides. and no doubt it is a little worn. as you may have noticed. and she is not easily controlled when she has made up her mind on a point. you remark in this note of yours. Unless they are quite new.

” he stammered. as it seemed. that I have caught him!” “What! where?” shouted Mr. rather to himself. But between ourselves. that the fourteen other characteristics to which I have alluded are there as well. Windibank. “I let you know. stepping over and turning the key in the door. Windibank. Now. In each case. Windibank sprang out of his chair and picked up his hat. and you will contradict me if I go wrong. not only are the ‘e’s slurred and the ‘r’s tailless.” “Certainly. but you will observe. like one who is utterly crushed. it was as cruel and selfish and heartless a trick in a petty way as ever came before me. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . leaning back with his hands in his pockets. Holmes stuck his feet up on the corner of the mantelpiece and.” said Holmes. “Oh.” The man sat huddled up in his chair. Mr.” Mr. They are all typewritten. “It—it’s not actionable.” he said. “If you can catch the man. then. That’s right! Sit down and let us talk it over. began talking. catch him. with a ghastly face and a glitter of moisture on his brow. It is quite too transparent.” Our visitor collapsed into a chair. “I am very much afraid that it is not. and it was a very bad compliment when you said that it was impossible for me to solve so simple a question. than to us. Windibank. Mr. “There is no possible getting out of it. Holmes.” said Holmes suavely. with his head sunk upon his breast. it won’t do—really it won’t. if you care to use my magnifying lens.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 91 from the missing man. “I cannot waste time over this sort of fantastic talk. and let me know when you have done it. turning white to his lips and glancing about him like a rat in a trap. let me just run over the course of events.

Hosmer Angel. covered those keen eyes with tinted glasses. and finally announced her positive intention of going to a certain ball. and the loss of it would have made a serious difference. It was a considerable sum. masked the face with a moustache and a pair of bushy whiskers. so what does her stepfather do to prevent it? He takes the obvious course of keeping her at home and forbidding her to seek the company of people of her own age. Now her marriage would mean. The daughter was of a good. the suspicion of treachery never for an instant entered her mind. and doubly secure on account of the girl’s short sight.” “Very likely not. having quite made up her mind that her stepfather was in France. She became restive. so that it was evident that with her fair personal advantages.” said he. “and he enjoyed the use of the money of the daughter as long as she lived with them. She was flattered by the gentleman’s Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . the loss of a hundred a year. but affectionate and warm-hearted in her ways. for people in their position. sunk that clear voice into an insinuating whisper. and. “We never thought that she would have been so carried away. What does her clever stepfather do then? He conceives an idea more creditable to his head than to his heart. It was worth an effort to preserve it.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 92 “The man married a woman very much older than himself for her money.” groaned our visitor. and keeps off other lovers by making love himself. insisted upon her rights. However that may be. amiable disposition. of course. he appears as Mr. she would not be allowed to remain single long. and her little income. the young lady was very decidedly carried away.” “It was only a joke at first. But soon he found that that would not answer forever. With the connivance and assistance of his wife he disguised himself.

and the effect was increased by the loudly expressed admiration of her mother. Holmes. which would finally secure the girl’s affections from turning towards anyone else. for it was obvious that the matter should be pushed as far as it would go if a real effect were to be produced. Hence those vows of fidelity exacted upon a Testament. Mr.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 93 attentions. “but if you are so very sharp you ought to be sharp enough to know that it is you who are breaking the law now. but as long as you keep that door locked you lay yourself open to an action for assault and illegal Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” said he. Then Mr. at any rate. James Windibank wished Miss Sutherland to be so bound to Hosmer Angel. “It may be so. These pretended journeys to France were rather cumbrous. as he could go no farther. and not me. and an engagement. The thing to do was clearly to bring the business to an end in such a dramatic manner that it would leave a permanent impression upon the young lady’s mind and prevent her from looking upon any other suitor for some time to come. he conveniently vanished away by the old trick of stepping in at one door of a four-wheeler and out at the other. and then. Mr. But the deception could not be kept up forever. As far as the church door he brought her. Angel began to call. I think that was the chain of events. or it may not. she would not listen to another man. I have done nothing actionable from the first. and he rose from his chair now with a cold sneer upon his pale face. that for ten years to come. and hence also the allusions to a possibility of something happening on the very morning of the wedding. and so uncertain as to his fate. There were meetings. Windibank!” Our visitor had recovered something of his assurance while Holmes had been talking.

” “The law cannot. was the stepfather. and from the window we could see Mr. he ought to lay a whip across your shoulders. touch you. Then the fact that the two men were never together. which both hinted at a disguise. but before he could grasp it there was a wild clatter of steps upon the stairs.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 94 constraint.” said Holmes. If the young lady has a brother or a friend. but here’s a hunting crop handy. “That fellow will rise from crime to crime until he does something very bad. of course. flushing up at the sight of the bitter sneer upon the man’s face. inferred that his handwriting was so Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Hosmer Angel must have some strong object for his curious conduct. laughing. which. and I think I shall just treat myself to—” He took two swift steps to the whip. “There’s a cold-blooded scoundrel!” said Holmes. been not entirely devoid of interest. and ends on a gallows. the heavy hall door banged. but that the one always appeared when the other was away. “yet there never was a man who deserved punishment more. So were the tinted spectacles and the curious voice. as far as we could see.” I remarked. as did the bushy whiskers. as he threw himself down into his chair once more. in some respects. By Jove!” he continued. My suspicions were all confirmed by his peculiar action in typewriting his signature. as you say. The case has. of course it was obvious from the first that this Mr. and it was equally clear that the only man who really profited by the incident. “it is not part of my duties to my client. “Well. unlocking and throwing open the door. James Windibank running at the top of his speed down the road.” “I cannot now entirely see all the steps of your reasoning. was suggestive.

I had already noticed the peculiarities of the typewriter. it was easy to get corroboration. and I sent it to the firm. his reply was typewritten and revealed the same trivial but characteristic defects.” “And how did you verify them?” “Having once spotted my man. Having taken the printed description.’ There is as much sense in Hafiz as in Horace. to say that the description tallied in every respect with that of their employee. I eliminated everything from it which could be the result of a disguise—the whiskers. As I expected.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . all pointed in the same direction. with a request that they would inform me whether it answered to the description of any of their travellers. The same post brought me a letter from Westhouse & Marbank. the voice. You may remember the old Persian saying. and danger also for whoso snatches a delusion from a woman. Voila tout!” “And Miss Sutherland?” “If I tell her she will not believe me. of Fenchurch Street. You see all these isolated facts. and I wrote to the man himself at his business address asking him if he would come here. James Windibank. the glasses. I knew the firm for which this man worked. and as much knowledge of the world. together with many minor ones.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 95 familiar to her that she would recognize even the smallest sample of it. ‘There is danger for him who taketh the tiger cub.

My wants were few and simple. looking across at me. I must pack at once. “Will you go?” “I really don’t know what to say. Sherlock Holmes’s cases. when the maid brought in a telegram. gaunt figure made even gaunter and taller by his long grey travellingcloak and close-fitting cloth cap. Anstruther would do your work for you. “What do you say.” My experience of camp life in Afghanistan had at least had the effect of making me a prompt and ready traveller. my wife and I. I think that the change would do you good. for I have only half an hour. Leave Paddington by the 11:15. Sherlock Holmes was pacing up and down the platform. MYSTERY W e were seated at breakfast one morning. It was from Sherlock Holmes and ran in this way: Have you a couple of days to spare? Have just been wired for from the west of England in connection with Boscombe Valley tragedy.” “I should be ungrateful if I were not. Air and scenery perfect. dear?” said my wife. Elecbook Classics Arthur Conan Doyle . I have a fairly long list at present.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 96 Adventure IV THE BOSCOMBE VALLEY . rattling away to Paddington Station. Shall be glad if you will come with me.” “Oh. You have been looking a little pale lately. so that in less than the time stated I was in a cab with my valise.” I answered. his tall. and you are always so interested in Mr. “But if I am to go. seeing what I gained through one of them.

Local aid is always either worthless or else biased.” said he. from what I gather. “Have you heard anything of the case?” he asked. I have just been looking through all the recent papers in order to master the particulars. “It makes a considerable difference to me.” “But it is profoundly true. Watson. in a very few words. In this case. the more difficult it is to bring it home. If you will keep the two corner seats I shall get the tickets. as far as I have been able to understand it. The more featureless and commonplace a crime is. however. then?” “Well. with intervals of note-taking and of meditation. Then he suddenly rolled them all into a gigantic ball and tossed them up onto the rack.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 97 “It is really very good of you to come. The largest landed proprietor in that part is a Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “It is a murder.” We had the carriage to ourselves save for an immense litter of papers which Holmes had brought with him. Among these he rummaged and read. I have not seen a paper for some days. I shall take nothing for granted until I have the opportunity of looking personally into it. It seems. having someone with me on whom I can thoroughly rely. it is conjectured to be so. to be one of those simple cases which are so extremely difficult. I will explain the state of things to you. Singularity is almost invariably a clew. they have established a very serious case against the son of the murdered man. in Herefordshire.” “The London press has not had very full accounts.” “That sounds a little paradoxical. until we were past Reading. “Boscombe Valley is a country district not very far from Ross. “Not a word.

whose name is not mentioned. was let to Mr. “From Hatherley Farm-house to the Boscombe Pool is a quarter of a mile. some half-dozen at the least. as he had an appointment of importance to keep at three. John Turner. and Turner had an only daughter of the same age. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . that is. “On June 3rd. who was also an ex-Australian. though both the McCarthys were fond of sport and were frequently seen at the race-meetings of the neighbourhood. Turner had a considerable household. that of Hatherley. upon terms of perfect equality. McCarthy kept two servants—a man and a girl. and he had told the man that he must hurry. Now for the facts. on Monday last. who made his money in Australia and returned some years ago to the old country. Turner was apparently the richer man.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 98 Mr. so McCarthy became his tenant but still remained. One was an old woman. From that appointment he never came back alive. McCarthy left his house at Hatherley about three in the afternoon and walked down to the Boscombe Pool. He had been out with his serving-man in the morning at Ross. but neither of them had wives living. Charles McCarthy. it seems. One of the farms which he held. as they were frequently together. so that it was not unnatural that when they came to settle down they should do so as near each other as possible. The men had known each other in the colonies. which is a small lake formed by the spreading out of the stream which runs down the Boscombe Valley. McCarthy had one son. They appear to have avoided the society of the neighbouring English families and to have led retired lives. That is as much as I have been able to gather about the families. and two people saw him as he passed over this ground. a lad of eighteen.

lost sight of them. She heard Mr. the father was actually in sight at the time. On following him they found the dead body stretched out upon the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . He thought no more of the matter until he heard in the evening of the tragedy that had occurred. The Boscombe Pool is thickly wooded round. McCarthy and his son. and she saw the latter raise up his hand as if to strike his father. and that they appeared to be having a violent quarrel. Both these witnesses depose that Mr. James McCarthy. and that she was afraid that they were going to fight. McCarthy the elder using very strong language to his son. the game-keeper. She had hardly said the words when young Mr. A girl of fourteen. going the same way with a gun under his arm. and to ask for the help of the lodge-keeper. a game-keeper in the employ of Mr. Turner. The game-keeper adds that within a few minutes of his seeing Mr. and the son was following him. McCarthy pass he had seen his son. “The two McCarthys were seen after the time when William Crowder. He was much excited. McCarthy was walking alone. To the best of his belief. without either his gun or his hat.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 99 and the other was William Crowder. She was so frightened by their violence that she ran away and told her mother when she reached home that she had left the two McCarthys quarrelling near Boscombe Pool. Mr. at the border of the wood and close by the lake. McCarthy came running up to the lodge to say that he had found his father dead in the wood. with just a fringe of grass and of reeds round the edge. was in one of the woods picking flowers. Patience Moran. who is the daughter of the lodge-keeper of the Boscombe Valley estate. Mr. and his right hand and sleeve were observed to be stained with fresh blood. She states that while she was there she saw.

has referred the case to me.” I remarked. he was on Wednesday brought before the magistrates at Ross.” “Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing. It must be confessed. however. the daughter of the neighbouring landowner.” “I am afraid. and hence it is that two middle-aged gentlemen are flying westward at fifty miles an hour instead of quietly digesting their breakfasts at home. you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different. and a verdict of ‘wilful murder’ having been returned at the inquest on Tuesday.” “I could hardly imagine a more damning case. that the case looks exceedingly grave against the young man. “It may seem to point very straight to one thing. and among them Miss Turner. The injuries were such as might very well have been inflicted by the butt-end of his son’s gun.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 100 grass beside the pool. and who have retained Lestrade. Under these circumstances the young man was instantly arrested. who have referred the case to the next Assizes. which was found lying on the grass within a few paces of the body. and it is very possible that he is indeed the culprit. but if you shift your own point of view a little. “that the facts are so obvious that you will Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . The head had been beaten in by repeated blows of some heavy and blunt weapon. There are several people in the neighbourhood. Those are the main facts of the case as they came out before the coroner and the police-court.” answered Holmes thoughtfully. whom you may recollect in connection with ‘A Study in Scarlet’.” said I. being rather puzzled. to work out the case in his interest. “If ever circumstantial evidence pointed to a criminal it does so here. who believe in his innocence. Lestrade. however.

until it becomes positively slovenly as we get round the angle of the jaw. I only quote this as a trivial example of observation and inference. On the inspector of constabulary informing him that he was a prisoner. Therein lies my metier.” “How on earth—” “My dear fellow. You shave every morning. we may chance to hit upon some other obvious facts which may have been by no means obvious to Mr. and in this season you shave by the sunlight. I know the military neatness which characterizes you. laughing. I know you well. I very clearly perceive that in your bedroom the window is upon the right-hand side. There are one or two minor points which were brought out in the inquest. “Besides.” “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. and which are worth considering. or even of understanding. but since your shaving is less and less complete as we get farther back on the left side.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 101 find little credit to be gained out of this case.” “What are they?” “It appears that his arrest did not take place at once. Lestrade would have noted even so self-evident a thing as that. he remarked that he was Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . You know me too well to think that I am boasting when I say that I shall either confirm or destroy his theory by means which he is quite incapable of employing. Lestrade. but after the return to Hatherley Farm. To take the first example to hand.” he answered. it is surely very clear that that side is less illuminated than the other. and yet I question whether Mr. and it is just possible that it may be of some service in the investigation which lies before us. I could not imagine a man of your habits looking at himself in an equal light and being satisfied with such a result.

” I ejaculated. and that there is no doubt that he had that very day so far forgotten his filial duty as to bandy words with him.” “On the contrary. And many men have been wrongfully hanged. I should have looked upon it as highly suspicious. This observation of his had the natural effect of removing any traces of doubt which might have remained in the minds of the coroner’s jury. The self-reproach and contrition which are displayed in his remark appear to me to be the signs of a healthy mind rather than of a guilty on. he could not be such an absolute imbecile as not to see that the circumstances were very black against him. Had he appeared surprised at his own arrest. His frank acceptance of the situation marks him as either an innocent man. for it was followed by a protestation of innocence. “No.” said Holmes. because such surprise or anger would not be natural under the circumstances. “Many men have been hanged on far slighter evidence. according to the little girl whose evidence is so important. it was at least a most suspicious remark. and yet might appear to be the best policy to a scheming man.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 102 not surprised to hear it. and that it was no more than his deserts. it was also not unnatural if you consider that he stood beside the dead body of his father. “it is the brightest rift which I can at present see in the clouds.” I remarked. “So they have. However innocent he might be. As to his remark about his deserts. to raise his hand as if to strike him.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” I shook my head.” “Coming on the top of such a damning series of events. or feigned indignation at it. or else as a man of considerable self-restraint and firmness. and even.” “It was a confession.

and had only just returned upon the morning of last Monday. looking out of my window. with the intention of visiting the rabbit warren which is upon the other side.” He picked out from his bundle a copy of the local Herefordshire paper. but he is mistaken in thinking that I was following my father. James McCarthy. On my way I saw William Crowder. though there are one or two points in it which are suggestive. A conversation ensued which led to high words and almost to blows. I saw him get out and walk rapidly out of the yard. though I was not aware in which direction he was going. and having turned down the sheet he pointed out the paragraph in which the unfortunate young man had given his own statement of what had occurred. My father was absent from home at the time of my arrival. the game-keeper. I then took my gun and strolled out in the direction of the Boscombe Pool. and may read it for yourself. not very encouraging to his supporters. I settled myself down in the corner of the carriage and read it very carefully. and I was informed by the maid that he had driven over to Ross with John Cobb. for my father Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I had no idea that he was in front of me. You will find it here. the only son of the deceased. and. I am afraid. He appeared to be much surprised at seeing me and asked me rather roughly what I was doing there.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 103 “What is the young man’s own account of the matter?” “It is. and found him standing by the pool. was then called and gave evidence as follows: “I had been away from home for three days at Bristol. I then hurried forward. as he had stated in his evidence. the 3d. Shortly after my return I heard the wheels of his trap in the yard. When about a hundred yards from the pool I heard a cry of ‘Cooee!’ which was a usual signal between my father and myself. the groom. It ran in this way: Mr.

Turner’s lodge-keeper. I left him and returned towards Hatherley Farm. and then made my way to Mr.” “The Coroner: ‘Did your father make any statement to you before he died?’ “Witness: ‘He mumbled a few words. when I heard a hideous outcry behind me. but he had. to ask for assistance. Seeing that his passion was becoming ungovernable. I can assure you that it has nothing to do with the sad tragedy which followed.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 104 was a man of a very violent temper. I saw no one near my father when I returned. I thought that he was delirious.’ “The Coroner: ‘What did you understand by that?’ “Witness: ‘It conveyed no meaning to me. I dropped my gun and held him in my arms. however. and I have no idea how he came by his injuries. I knelt beside him for some minutes. no active enemies.’ “Witness: ‘It is really impossible for me to tell you. as far as I know. which caused me to run back again. He was not a popular man. his house being the nearest. I know nothing further of the matter. I need not point out to you that your refusal to answer will prejudice your case considerably in any future proceedings which may arise.’ “The Coroner: ‘That is for the court to decide. being somewhat cold and forbidding in his manners.’ “The Coroner: ‘What was the point upon which you and your father had this final quarrel?’ “Witness: ‘I should prefer not to answer.’ Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . with his head terribly injured.’ “The Coroner: ‘I am afraid that I must press it. but I could only catch some allusion to a rat. I had not gone more than 150 yards. I found my father expiring upon the ground. but he almost instantly expired.

a coat of some sort. It seemed to me to be something grey in colour. When I rose from my father I looked round for it. and before he even knew that you had returned from Bristol?’ “Witness (with considerable confusion): ‘I do not know. it was gone.’ “The Coroner: ‘I understand that the cry of “Cooee” was a common signal between you and your father?’ “Witness: ‘It was.’ “The Coroner: ‘What do you mean?’ “Witness: ‘I was so disturbed and excited as I rushed out into the open.’ “‘How far from the body?’ “‘A dozen yards or so. or a plaid perhaps.’ “A Juryman: ‘Did you see nothing which aroused your suspicions when you returned on hearing the cry and found your father fatally injured?’ “Witness: ‘Nothing definite.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 105 “Witness: ‘I must still refuse. that I could think of nothing except of my father. that he uttered it before he saw you.’ “‘You cannot say what it was?’ “‘No. but it was gone. Yet I have a vague impression that as I ran forward something lay upon the ground to the left of me.’ “‘Then if it was removed it was while you were within a dozen yards of it?’ Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .’ “‘Do you mean that it disappeared before you went for help?’ “‘Yes.’ “The Coroner: ‘How was it.’ “‘And how far from the edge of the wood?’ “‘About the same. I had a feeling something was there. then.

” It was nearly four o’clock when we at last. and the incident of the vanishing cloth. “Both you and the coroner have been at some pains.” Holmes laughed softly to himself and stretched himself out upon the cushioned seat. and with reason. very much against the son. He calls attention. if he evolved from his own inner consciousness anything so outre as a dying reference to a rat. and over the broad gleaming Severn. A lean. too much. Don’t you see that you alternately give him credit for having too much imagination and too little? Too little.” said I as I glanced down the column. and I see that we shall be there in twenty minutes. No. furtive and sly-looking. I shall approach this case from the point of view that what this young man says is true. found ourselves at the pretty little country-town of Ross. And now here is my pocket Petrarch. as he remarks. and his singular account of his father’s dying words. but with my back towards it.” “I see. “to single out the very strongest points in the young man’s favour. and we shall see whither that hypothesis will lead us. We lunch at Swindon. In spite of the light brown dustcoat and leatherleggings which he wore in deference to his rustic surroundings. and not another word shall I say of this case until we are on the scene of action. if he could not invent a cause of quarrel which would give him the sympathy of the jury.” said he. after passing through the beautiful Stroud Valley. to the discrepancy about his father having signalled to him before seeing him also to his refusal to give details of his conversation with his father. “that the coroner in his concluding remarks was rather severe upon young McCarthy. sir. was waiting for us upon the platform. ferret-like man.’ “This concluded the examination of the witness. They are all. I Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 106 “‘Yes.

no doubt. “I do not quite follow. and the more one goes into it the plainer it becomes. “I have ordered a carriage. and would have your opinion. With him we drove to the Hereford Arms where a room had already been engaged for us. one can’t refuse a lady.” he said. though I repeatedly told her that there was nothing which you could do which I had not already done. of course. “You have. She has heard of you.” said Lestrade as we sat over a cup of tea. Mr. Her violet eyes shining. I have a caseful of cigarettes here which need smoking. and not a cloud in the sky. of Scotland Yard. and the sofa is very much superior to the usual country hotel abomination. already formed your conclusions from the newspapers.” He had hardly spoken before there rushed into the room one of the most lovely young women that I have ever seen in my life. bless my soul! here is her carriage at the door.” he said.” Holmes answered.” Lestrade laughed indulgently. Why. Still. all thought of her natural reserve lost in her overpowering excitement and concern. I do not think that it is probable that I shall use the carriage to-night. and such a very positive one.” Lestrade looked startled. too. glancing from one to the other of us. fastening Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I see.” “It was very nice and complimentary of you. a pink flush upon her cheeks. with a woman’s quick intuition. “The case is as plain as a pikestaff. and that you would not be happy until you had been on the scene of the crime. “I knew your energetic nature. “It is entirely a question of barometric pressure. “How is the glass? Twenty-nine. “Oh. No wind. Sherlock Holmes!” she cried. her lips parted.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 107 had no difficulty in recognizing Lestrade. and finally.

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upon my companion, “I am so glad that you have come. I have driven down to tell you so. I know that James didn’t do it. I know it, and I want you to start upon your work knowing it, too. Never let yourself doubt upon that point. We have known each other since we were little children, and I know his faults as no one else does; but he is too tender-hearted to hurt a fly. Such a charge is absurd to anyone who really knows him.” “I hope we may clear him, Miss Turner,” said Sherlock Holmes. “You may rely upon my doing all that I can.” “But you have read the evidence. You have formed some conclusion? Do you not see some loophole, some flaw? Do you not yourself think that he is innocent?” “I think that it is very probable.” “There, now!” she cried, throwing back her head and looking defiantly at Lestrade. “You hear! He gives me hopes.” Lestrade shrugged his shoulders. “I am afraid that my colleague has been a little quick in forming his conclusions,” he said. “But he is right. Oh! I know that he is right. James never did it. And about his quarrel with his father, I am sure that the reason why he would not speak about it to the coroner was because I was concerned in it.” “In what way?” asked Holmes. “It is no time for me to hide anything. James and his father had many disagreements about me. Mr. McCarthy was very anxious that there should be a marriage between us. James and I have always loved each other as brother and sister; but of course he is young and has seen very little of life yet, and—and—well, he naturally did not wish to do anything like that yet. So there were
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quarrels, and this, I am sure, was one of them.” “And your father?” asked Holmes. “Was he in favour of such a union?” “No, he was averse to it also. No one but Mr. McCarthy was in favour of it.” A quick blush passed over her fresh young face as Holmes shot one of his keen, questioning glances at her. “Thank you for this information,” said he. “May I see your father if I call to-morrow?” “I am afraid the doctor won’t allow it.” “The doctor?” “Yes, have you not heard? Poor father has never been strong for years back, but this has broken him down completely. He has taken to his bed, and Dr. Willows says that he is a wreck and that his nervous system is shattered. Mr. McCarthy was the only man alive who had known dad in the old days in Victoria.” “Ha! In Victoria! That is important.” “Yes, at the mines.” “Quite so; at the gold-mines, where, as I understand, Mr. Turner made his money.” “Yes, certainly.” “Thank you, Miss Turner. You have been of material assistance to me.” “You will tell me if you have any news to-morrow. No doubt you will go to the prison to see James. Oh, if you do, Mr. Holmes, do tell him that I know him to be innocent.” “I will, Miss Turner.” “I must go home now, for dad is very ill, and he misses me so if I leave him. Good-bye, and God help you in your undertaking.” She hurried from the room as impulsively as she had entered, and
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we heard the wheels of her carriage rattle off down the street. “I am ashamed of you, Holmes,” said Lestrade with dignity after a few minutes’ silence. “Why should you raise up hopes which you are bound to disappoint? I am not over-tender of heart, but I call it cruel.” “I think that I see my way to clearing James McCarthy,” said Holmes. “Have you an order to see him in prison?” “Yes, but only for you and me.” “Then I shall reconsider my resolution about going out. We have still time to take a train to Hereford and see him to-night?” “Ample.” “Then let us do so. Watson, I fear that you will find it very slow, but I shall only be away a couple of hours.” I walked down to the station with them, and then wandered through the streets of the little town, finally returning to the hotel, where I lay upon the sofa and tried to interest myself in a yellowbacked novel. The puny plot of the story was so thin, however, when compared to the deep mystery through which we were groping, and I found my attention wander so continually from the action to the fact, that I at last flung it across the room and gave myself up entirely to a consideration of the events of the day. Supposing that this unhappy young man’s story were absolutely true, then what hellish thing, what absolutely unforeseen and extraordinary calamity could have occurred between the time when he parted from his father, and the moment when drawn back by his screams, he rushed into the glade? It was something terrible and deadly. What could it be? Might not the nature of the injuries reveal something to my medical instincts? I rang the bell and called for the weekly county paper, which contained a
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verbatim account of the inquest. In the surgeon’s deposition it was stated that the posterior third of the left parietal bone and the left half of the occipital bone hail been shattered by a heavy blow from a blunt weapon. I marked the spot upon my own head. Clearly such a blow must have been struck from behind. That was to some extent in favour of the accused, as when seen quarrelling he was face to face with his father. Still, it did not go for very much, for the older man might have turned his back before the blow fell. Still, it might be worth while to call Holmes’s attention to it. Then there was the peculiar dying reference to a rat. What could that mean? It could not be delirium. A man dying from a sudden blow does not commonly become delirious. No, it was more likely to be an attempt to explain how he met his fate. But what could it indicate? I cudgelled my brains to find some possible explanation. And then the incident of the grey cloth seen by young McCarthy. If that were true the murderer must have dropped some part of his dress, presumably his overcoat, in his flight, and must have had the hardihood to return and to carry it away at the instant when the son was kneeling with his back turned not a dozen paces off. What a tissue of mysteries and improbabilities the whole thing was! I did not wonder at Lestrade’s opinion, and yet I had so much faith in Sherlock Holmes’s insight that I could not lose hope as long as every fresh fact seemed to strengthen his conviction of young McCarthy’s innocence. It was late before Sherlock Holmes returned. He came back alone, for Lestrade was staying in lodgings in the town. “The glass still keeps very high,” he remarked as he sat down. “It is of importance that it should not rain before we are able to go over the ground. On the other hand, a man should be at his very
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best and keenest for such nice work as that, and I did not wish to do it when fagged by a long journey. I have seen young McCarthy.” “And what did you learn from him?” “Nothing.” “Could he throw no light?” “None at all. I was inclined to think at one time that he knew who had done it and was screening him or her, but I am convinced now that he is as puzzled as everyone else. He is not a very quickwitted youth, though comely to look at and, I should think, sound at heart.” “I cannot admire his taste,” I remarked, “if it is indeed a fact that he was averse to a marriage with so charming a young lady as this Miss Turner.” “Ah, thereby hangs a rather painful tale. This fellow is madly, insanely, in love with her, but some two years ago, when he was only a lad, and before he really knew her, for she had been away five years at a boarding-school, what does the idiot do but get into the clutches of a barmaid in Bristol and marry her at a registry office? No one knows a word of the matter, but you can imagine how maddening it must be to him to be upbraided for not doing what he would give his very eyes to do, but what he knows to be absolutely impossible. It was sheer frenzy of this sort which made him throw his hands up into the air when his father, at their last interview, was goading him on to propose to Miss Turner. On the other hand, he had no means of supporting himself, and his father, who was by all accounts a very hard man, would have thrown him over utterly had he known the truth. It was with his barmaid wife that he had spent the last three days in Bristol, and his father did
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not know where he was. Mark that point. It is of importance. Good has come out of evil, however, for the barmaid, finding from the papers that he is in serious trouble and likely to be hanged, has thrown him over utterly and has written to him to say that she has a husband already in the Bermuda Dockyard, so that there is really no tie between them. I think that that bit of news has consoled young McCarthy for all that he has suffered.” “But if he is innocent, who has done it?” “Ah! who? I would call your attention very particularly to two points. One is that the murdered man had an appointment with someone at the pool, and that the someone could not have been his son, for his son was away, and he did not know when he would return. The second is that the murdered man was heard to cry ‘Cooee!’ before he knew that his son had returned. Those are the crucial points upon which the case depends. And now let us talk about George Meredith, if you please, and we shall leave all minor matters until to-morrow.” There was no rain, as Holmes had foretold, and the morning broke bright and cloudless. At nine o’clock Lestrade called for us with the carriage, and we set off for Hatherley Farm and the Boscombe Pool. “There is serious news this morning,” Lestrade observed. “It is said that Mr. Turner, of the Hall, is so ill that his life is despaired of.” “An elderly man, I presume?” said Holmes. “About sixty; but his constitution has been shattered by his life abroad, and he has been in failing health for some time. This business has had a very bad effect upon him. He was an old friend of McCarthy’s, and, I may add, a great benefactor to him, for I
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have learned that he gave him Hatherley Farm rent free.” “Indeed! That is interesting,” said Holmes. “Oh, yes! In a hundred other ways he has helped him. Everybody about here speaks of his kindness to him.” “Really! Does it not strike you as a little singular that this McCarthy, who appears to have had little of his own, and to have been under such obligations to Turner, should still talk of marrying his son to Turner’s daughter, who is, presumably, heiress to the estate, and that in such a very cocksure manner, as if it were merely a case of a proposal and all else would follow? It is the more strange, since we know that Turner himself was averse to the idea. The daughter told us as much. Do you not deduce something from that?” “We have got to the deductions and the inferences,” said Lestrade, winking at me. “I find it hard enough to tackle facts, Holmes, without flying away after theories and fancies.” “You are right,” said Holmes demurely; “you do find it very hard to tackle the facts.” “Anyhow, I have grasped one fact which you seem to find it difficult to get hold of,” replied Lestrade with some warmth. “And that is—” “That McCarthy senior met his death from McCarthy junior and that all theories to the contrary are the merest moonshine.” “Well, moonshine is a brighter thing than fog,” said Holmes, laughing. “But I am very much mistaken if this is not Hatherley Farm upon the left.” “Yes, that is it.” It was a widespread, comfortable-looking building, two-storied, slate-roofed, with great yellow blotches of lichen upon the grey walls. The drawn blinds and the smokeless
Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics

Sometimes Holmes would hurry on. showed us the boots which her master wore at the time of his death. the detective indifferent and contemptuous. Lestrade and I walked behind him. Sherlock Holmes was transformed when he was hot upon such a scent as this. and there were marks of many feet. as is all that district. when the maid. His face was bent downward. impatient snarl in reply. Having measured these very carefully from seven or eight different points. while his eyes shone out from beneath them with a steely glitter. Swiftly and silently he made his way along the track which ran through the meadows. and so by way of the woods to the Boscombe Pool. at the most. Holmes desired to be led to the court-yard. and the veins stood out like whipcord in his long. His face flushed and darkened. His nostrils seemed to dilate with a purely animal lust for the chase. gave it a stricken look. his shoulders bowed. sometimes stop dead. at Holmes’s request. though not the pair which he had then had. and also a pair of the son’s.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 115 chimneys. We called at the door. Men who had only known the quiet thinker and logician of Baker Street would have failed to recognize him. from which we all followed the winding track which led to Boscombe Pool. sinewy neck. marshy ground. His brows were drawn into two hard black lines. It was damp. however. as though the weight of this horror still lay heavy upon it. or. while I watched my friend with the interest which sprang from the conviction that every one of his actions was Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . only provoked a quick. both upon the path and amid the short grass which bounded it on either side. and his mind was so absolutely concentrated upon the matter before him that a question or remark fell unheeded upon his ears. and once he made quite a little detour into the meadow. his lips compressed.

how simple it would all have been had I been here before they came like a herd of buffalo and wallowed all over it. Twice he was walking. Here is where the party with the lodge-keeper came. He ran round. and there it vanishes among the reeds. But how on earth—” “Oh. I thought there might be some weapon or other trace. To Holmes. Oh. and once he ran Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . tut. and. and they have covered all tracks for six or eight feet round the body. On the Hatherley side of the pool the woods grew very thick. tut! I have no time! That left foot of yours with its inward twist is all over the place. very many other things were to be read upon the trampled grass. that I could plainly see the traces which had been left by the fall of the stricken man. and then turned upon my companion. “What did you go into the pool for?” he asked. A mole could trace it. The Boscombe Pool. talking all the time rather to himself than to us. jutting pinnacles which marked the site of the rich landowner’s dwelling. But here are three separate tracks of the same feet. Turner. which is a little reed-girt sheet of water some fifty yards across. is situated at the boundary between the Hatherley Farm and the private park of the wealthy Mr. Above the woods which lined it upon the farther side we could see the red.” He drew out a lens and lay down upon his waterproof to have a better view. like a dog who is picking up a scent. Lestrade showed us the exact spot at which the body had been found. as I could see by his eager face and peering eyes. “These are young McCarthy’s feet. and there was a narrow belt of sodden grass twenty paces across between the edge of the trees land the reeds which lined the lake. “I fished about with a rake. so moist was the ground. indeed.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 116 directed towards a definite end.

“I fancy that this grey house on the right must be the lodge. and I shall be with you presently. “This may interest you.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 117 swiftly. Having done that. holding it out. gathering up what seemed to me to be dust into an envelope and examining with his lens not only the ground but even the bark of the tree as far as he could reach. they come again—of course that was for the cloak. the largest tree in the neighbourhood. where all traces were lost. Then here are the father’s feet as he paced up and down. then? It is the butt-end of the gun as the son stood listening. That bears out his story. He ran when he saw his father on the ground.” he remarked. ha! What have we here? Tiptoes! tiptoes! Square. too. You may walk to the cab. and perhaps write a little note.” It was about ten minutes before we regained our cab and drove back into Ross. so that the soles are deeply marked and the heels hardly visible. What is this. For a long time he remained there. turning over the leaves and dried sticks.” he remarked. Holmes still carrying with him the stone which he had picked up in the wood. Lestrade. “It has been a case of considerable interest. sometimes finding the track until we were well within the edge of the wood and under the shadow of a great beech. quite unusual boots! They come. And this? Ha. they go. and this also he carefully examined and retained. we may drive back to our luncheon. returning to his natural manner. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . sometimes losing. Now where did they come from?” He ran up and down. A jagged stone was lying among the moss. Holmes traced his way to the farther side of this and lay down once more upon his face with a little cry of satisfaction. I think that I will go in and have a word with Moran. Then he followed a pathway through the wood until he came to the highroad.

I shall be busy this afternoon.” “And leave your case unfinished?” “No. There was no sign of a place whence it had been taken.” “How do you know. This is not such a populous neighbourhood.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 118 “The murder was done with it.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . but we have to deal with a hardheaded British jury. then?” “The grass was growing under it. smokes Indian cigars. It had only lain there a few days. “Theories are all very well.” “Who was the criminal.” answered Holmes calmly. but these may be enough to aid us in our search.” “There are none.” Lestrade laughed. wears thicksoled shooting-boots and a grey cloak. It corresponds with the injuries. left-handed. finished. “I am afraid that I am still a sceptic. then?” “The gentleman I describe.” “Nous verrons. and I shall work mine.” “But the mystery?” “It is solved. limps with the right leg. and carries a blunt pen-knife in his pocket.” “And the murderer?” “Is a tall man. uses a cigar-holder. “You work your own method.” he said. and shall probably return to London by the evening train.” “But who is he?” “Surely it would not be difficult to find out. There are several other indications. There is no sign of any other weapon.” “I see no marks.

“I am a practical man. and I should value your advice. I don’t know quite what to do.” “Well.” “All right. It was mere chance that he was within earshot. cry ‘Cooee!’ before seeing him. I should become the laughing-stock of Scotland Yard. The son. in considering this case there are two points about young McCarthy’s narrative which struck us both instantly. The ‘Cooee!’ was meant to attract the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Good-bye. we drove to our hotel. “I have given you the chance. Now from this double point our research must commence. as far as he knew. “Look here.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 119 Lestrade shrugged his shoulders. I shall drop you a line before I leave.” he said. and we will begin it by presuming that what the lad says is absolutely true. was in Bristol. Here are your lodgings.” Having left Lestrade at his rooms. The other was his singular dying reference to a rat.” “What of this ‘Cooee!’ then?” “Well. although they impressed me in his favour and you against him. as one who finds himself in a perplexing position.” said Holmes quietly. according to his account. Holmes was silent and buried in thought with a pained expression upon his face. “and I really cannot undertake to go about the country looking for a left-handed gentleman with a game leg. but that was all that caught the son’s ear. He mumbled several words.” he said when the cloth was cleared “just sit down in this chair and let me preach to you for a little. Watson. Light a cigar and let me expound. One was the fact that his father should.” “Pray do so. obviously it could not have been meant for the son. where we found lunch upon the table. you understand. now.

” He put his hand over part of the map.” “It is wonderful!” I exclaimed. So and so. “I wired to Bristol for it last night. where strangers could hardly wander.” “What of the rat. I had narrowed the field down considerably.” “Then comes our expedition of to-day. for the pool can only be approached by the farm or by the estate. He was trying to utter the name of his murderer. “And now?” He raised his hand. of Ballarat.” “Quite so. was a certainty. you see. “It is obvious.” “Quite so. There is a strong presumption that the person whom McCarthy expected to meet him at Boscombe Pool was someone who had been in Australia. granting the son’s statement to be correct.” “And one who was at home in the district. and one which is used between Australians. By an examination of the ground I gained the trifling details which I gave to that Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” I read. That was the word the man uttered. And now. The possession of a grey garment was a third point which. “BALLARAT. “This is a map of the Colony of Victoria.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 120 attention of whoever it was that he had the appointment with. then?” Sherlock Holmes took a folded paper from his pocket and flattened it out on the table. and of which his son only caught the last two syllables.” he said. But ‘Cooee’ is a distinctly Australian cry. We have come now out of mere vagueness to the definite conception of an Australian from Ballarat with a grey cloak.” “Certainly. “What do you read?” “ARAT.

might be told from their traces. The tip had been cut off.” “And the cigar-holder?” “I could see that the end had not been in his mouth.” “You were yourself struck by the nature of the injury as recorded by the surgeon at the inquest. and cigarette tobacco.” “His height I know that you might roughly judge from the length of his stride. of the variety which are rolled in Rotterdam. but the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Having found the ash. It was an Indian cigar. His boots. how can that be unless it were by a left-handed man? He had stood behind that tree during the interview between the father and son. too. Now. He put less weight upon it. cigar. which my special knowledge of tobacco ashes enables me to pronounce as an Indian cigar.” “But his lameness?” “The impression of his right foot was always less distinct than his left. I then looked round and discovered the stump among the moss where he had tossed it. Therefore he used a holder.” “But how did you gain them?” “You know my method. as you know. I found the ash of a cigar. He had even smoked there. not bitten off.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 121 imbecile Lestrade. as to the personality of the criminal.” “Yes.” “But his left-handedness. and written a little monograph on the ashes of 140 different varieties of pipe. they were peculiar boots. Why? Because he limped—he was lame. It is founded upon the observation of trifles. I have. The blow was struck from immediately behind. and yet was upon the left side. devoted some attention to this.

“Yes.” said Holmes gently. the lodge-keeper brought it up. “You had my note?” “Yes. while his lips and the corners of his nostrils were tinged with a shade of blue.” cried the hotel waiter. The man who entered was a strange and impressive figure. His slow. and his enormous limbs showed that he was possessed of unusual strength of body and of character. grizzled hair.” I said. and you have saved an innocent human life as truly as if you had cut the cord which was hanging him. “Pray sit down on the sofa.” “I thought people would talk if I went to the Hall. opening the door of our sitting-room. and outstanding. His tangled beard. The culprit is—” “Mr. “It is so. I know all about McCarthy.” The old man sank his face in his hands. It was clear to me at a glance that he was in the grip of some deadly and chronic disease. “God help me!” he cried. so I deduced a blunt pen-knife. deep-lined. I Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . as though his question was already answered. “you have drawn a net round this man from which he cannot escape. drooping eyebrows combined to give an air of dignity and power to his appearance.” “Holmes. John Turner.” “And why did you wish to see me?” He looked across at my companion with despair in his weary eyes. craggy features.” said Holmes. You said that you wished to see me here to avoid scandal. but his face was of an ashen white. answering the look rather than the words. and yet his hard. and ushering in a visitor. “But I would not have let the young man come to harm.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 122 cut was not a clean one. I see the direction in which all this points. limping step and bowed shoulders gave the appearance of decrepitude.

And now I will make the thing clear to you. My doctor says it is a question whether I shall live a month. Young McCarthy must be got off. “I shall jot down the facts. God keep you out of the clutches of such a man as he.” he said. and Watson here can witness it. He was a devil incarnate. however. it has been a long time in the acting. “What?” “I am no official agent.” “It may not come to that. Then I could produce your confession at the last extremity to save young McCarthy. You will sign it. McCarthy. “I would have spoken now had it not been for my dear girl.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 123 give you my word that I would have spoken out if it went against him at the Assizes. His grip has been upon me these twenty years. “I have had diabetes for years.” “It’s as well.” said Holmes. “it’s a question whether I shall live to the Assizes. Yet I would rather die under my own roof than in a jail.” said old Turner. I understand that it was your daughter who required my presence here. and I am acting in her interests.” said Holmes gravely.” Holmes rose and sat down at the table with his pen in his hand and a bundle of paper before him. I’ll tell you first how I came to be in his Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . so it matters little to me.” said the old man. and he has blasted my life.” “I am glad to hear you say so. but will not take me long to tell. “You didn’t know this dead man. I tell you that. I promise you that I shall not use it unless it is absolutely needed. “Just tell us the truth. It would break her heart—it will break her heart when she hears that I am arrested.” “I am a dying man. but I should wish to spare Alice the shock.

Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . though I saw his wicked little eyes fixed on my face. became wealthy men. so it was a close thing. and our party is still remembered in the colony as the Ballarat Gang. There were six troopers and six of us. We got away with the gold. as though to remember every feature. had no luck with my claim. I put my pistol to the head of the wagon-driver. I turned over a new leaf and did my best to make up for the past. I bought this estate. and I set myself to do a little good with my money. and we had a wild. took to the bush.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 124 power. took to drink. There I parted from my old pals and determined to settle down to a quiet and respectable life. but we emptied four of their saddles at the first volley. Even when she was just a baby her wee hand seemed to lead me down the right path as nothing else had ever done. and we lay in wait for it and attacked it. In a word. “It was in the early ’60’s at the diggings. ready to turn my hand at anything. however. There were six of us. and though my wife died young she left me my dear little Alice. I wish to the Lord that I had shot him then. and made our way over to England without being suspected. or stopping the wagons on the road to the diggings. I married. hot-blooded and reckless. who was this very man McCarthy. to make up for the way in which I had earned it. Black Jack of Ballarat was the name I went under. Three of our boys were killed. I got among bad companions. “One day a gold convoy came down from Ballarat to Melbourne. sticking up a station from time to time. free life of it. too. All was going well when McCarthy laid his grip upon me. which chanced to be in the market. but I spared him. and in a word became what you would call over here a highway robber. before we got the swag. I was a young chap then.

and whatever it was I gave him without question. you see. We were to meet at the pool midway between our houses to talk it over. lawabiding country is England. and that was enough. I would not have his cursed stock mixed with mine. He was urging his son to marry my daughter with as little regard for what she might think as if she Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . money. ‘we’ll be as good as a family to you. no forgetfulness. If you don’t—it’s a fine. me and my son. down they came to the west country. McCarthy threatened. no peace. and I met him in Regent Street with hardly a coat to his back or a boot to his foot. grinning face at my elbow. and you can have the keeping of us.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 125 “I had gone up to town about an investment. land. Whatever he wanted he must have. I braved him to do his worst. “His son. not that I had any dislike to the lad. It grew worse as Alice grew up. for he soon saw I was more afraid of her knowing my past than of the police. there was no shaking them off. But there I was firm. and there’s always a policeman within hail. and so had my girl. “‘Here we are. turn where I would. But as I listened to his talk all that was black and bitter in me seemed to come uppermost. Jack. houses. touching me on the arm. and there they have lived rent free on my best land ever since. it seemed a fine stroke to him that his lad should step into the whole property. there was his cunning. had grown up. so smoked a cigar and waited behind a tree until he should be alone. until at last he asked a thing which I could not give. I stood firm. “When we went down there I found him talking with his son. There’s two of us.’ says he. but his blood was in him.’ “Well. He asked for Alice. There was no rest for me. and as I was known to be in weak health.

” said Holmes as the old man signed the statement which had been drawn out. but I had gained the cover of the wood. “Why does fate Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I did it. then. sir. I will keep your confession. I struck him down with no more compunction than if he had been some foul and venomous beast. And what do you intend to do?” “In view of your health. when they come. whether you be alive or dead. nothing. If not. of all that occurred. Holmes. His cry brought back his son. I knew that my own fate was sealed. Could I not snap the bond? I was already a dying and a desperate man. That is the true story. and your secret. it is not for me to judge you. Deeply as I have sinned. “God help us!” said Holmes after a long silence. But my memory and my girl! Both could be saved if I could but silence that foul tongue. I would do it again. shall be safe with us. “I pray that we may never be exposed to such a temptation. You are yourself aware that you will soon have to answer for your deed at a higher court than the Assizes.” Tottering and shaking in all his giant frame. he stumbled slowly from the room. It drove me mad to think that I and all that I held most dear should be in the power of such a man as this. Though clear of mind and fairly strong of limb.” “I pray not. though I was forced to go back to fetch the cloak which I had dropped in my flight.” “Farewell. will be the easier for the thought of the peace which you have given to mine. it shall never be seen by mortal eye. Mr. But that my girl should be entangled in the same meshes which held me was more than I could suffer.” “Well. “Your own deathbeds. gentlemen.” said the old man solemnly.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 126 were a slut from off the streets. and if McCarthy is condemned I shall be forced to use it. I have led a life of martyrdom to atone for it.

and there is every prospect that the son and daughter may come to live happily together in ignorance of the black cloud which rests upon their past.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 127 play such tricks with poor. but for the grace of God. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . goes Sherlock Holmes. helpless worms? I never hear of such a case as this that I do not think of Baxter’s words. but he is now dead.’” James McCarthy was acquitted at the Assizes on the strength of a number of objections which had been drawn out by Holmes and submitted to the defending counsel. Old Turner lived for seven months after our interview. and say. ‘There.

and have their explanations founded rather upon conjecture and surmise than on that absolute logical proof which was so dear to him. have baffled his analytical skill. Some. Some. There is. beginnings without an ending. and finally of the Camberwell poisoning case. who held a luxurious club in the lower vault of a furniture warehouse. and probably never will be. while others have been but partially cleared up. however. The year ‘87 furnished us with a long series of cases of greater or less interest. Sherlock Holmes was able. In the latter. as narratives. have already gained publicity through the papers. entirely cleared up. I am faced by so many which present strange and interesting features that it is no easy matter to know which to choose and which to leave. of the Amateur Mendicant Society. W hen I glance over my notes and records of the Sherlock Holmes cases between the years ’82 and ’90. Among my headings under this one twelve months I find an account of the adventure of the Paradol Chamber. and others have not offered a field for those peculiar qualities which my friend possessed in so high a degree. as may be remembered. of the facts connected with the loss of the British bark Sophy Anderson.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 128 Adventure V THE FIVE ORANGE PIPS . of the singular adventures of the Grice Patersons in the island of Uffa. by Elecbook Classics Arthur Conan Doyle . however. and would be. of which I retain the records. too. and which it is the object of these papers to illustrate. one of these last which was so remarkable in its details and so startling in its results that I am tempted to give some account of it in spite of the fact that there are points in connection with it which never have been.

All day the wind had screamed and the rain had beaten against the windows. but none of them present such singular features as the strange train of circumstances which I have now taken up my pen to describe. “that was surely the bell. As evening drew in. the storm grew higher and louder. “Why. then?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . glancing up at my companion. It was in the latter days of September. while I at the other was deep in one of Clark Russell’s fine sea-stories until the howl of the gale from without seemed to blend with the text. “I do not encourage visitors. hand-made London we were forced to raise our minds for the instant from the routine of life and to recognize the presence of those great elemental forces which shriek at mankind through the bars of his civilization. My wife was on a visit to her mother’s.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 129 winding up the dead man’s watch. like untamed beasts in a cage. and the equinoctial gales had set in with exceptional violence.” said I. and the wind cried and sobbed like a child in the chimney. perhaps?” “Except yourself I have none. and for a few days I was a dweller once more in my old quarters at Baker Street. and that therefore the deceased had gone to bed within that time—a deduction which was of the greatest importance in clearing up the case.” he answered. All these I may sketch out at some future date. so that even here in the heart of great. to prove that it had been wound up two hours before.” “A client. and the splash of the rain to lengthen out into the long swash of the sea waves. Sherlock Holmes sat moodily at one side of the fireplace cross-indexing his records of crime. Who could come to-night? Some friend of yours.

“They may rest here on the hook and will be dry presently. “Come in!” said he. The streaming umbrella which he held in his hand.” “That clay and chalk mixture which I see upon your toe caps is quite distinctive.” “I have come for advice.” “That is not always so easy. and his long shining waterproof told of the fierce weather through which he had come.” “Give me your coat and umbrella. like those of a man who is weighed down with some great anxiety. “I trust that I am not intruding.” “Yes. some two-and-twenty at the outside. The man who entered was young. You have come up from the south-west.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . raising his golden pince-nez to his eyes.” “That is easily got. from Horsham.” said Holmes. “I owe you an apology. He looked about him anxiously in the glare of the lamp. But I take it that it is more likely to be some crony of the landlady’s. I fear that I have brought some traces of the storm and rain into your snug chamber. well-groomed and trimly clad. He stretched out his long arm to turn the lamp away from himself and towards the vacant chair upon which a newcomer must sit.” Sherlock Holmes was wrong in his conjecture. however. I see.” he said. it is a serious case.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 130 “If so.” “And help. with something of refinement and delicacy in his bearing. and I could see that his face was pale and his eyes heavy. Nothing less would bring a man out on such a day and at such an hour. for there came a step in the passage and a tapping at the door.

He was wrongfully accused of cheating at cards. “My name. and I can afterwards question you as to those details which seem to me to be most important.” “None of those which come to me are.” The young man pulled his chair up and pushed his wet feet out towards the blaze. but my own affairs have.” “Then you may be so with me. Holmes.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 131 “I have heard of you. sir.” “And yet I question. I am the last court of appeal.” “It is no ordinary one. in all your experience. as far as I can understand.” “That you are never beaten. Mr.” “I beg that you will draw your chair up to the fire and favour me with some details as to your case.” said Holmes. “Pray give us the essential facts from the commencement. “is John Openshaw.” “He said too much. of course.” “Ah. whether.” “He said that you could solve anything.” “You fill me with interest.” “I have been beaten four times—three times by men.” said he. you have ever listened to a more mysterious and inexplicable chain of events than those which have happened in my own family. little to do with this awful Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I heard from Major Prendergast how you saved him in the Tankerville Club scandal.” “But what is that compared with the number of your successes?” “It is true that I have been generally successful. and once by a woman.

He had made a very considerable fortune in the States. “You must know that my grandfather had two sons—my uncle Elias and my father Joseph. He had a garden and two or three fields round his house. “My uncle Elias emigrated to America when he was a young man and became a planter in Florida. very foul-mouthed when he was angry. but he would see no society and did not want any friends. He was a singular man. near Horsham. I doubt if ever he set foot in the town. and his dislike of the Republican policy in extending the franchise to them. which he enlarged at the time of the invention of bicycling. and afterwards under Hood. This Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . for at the time when he saw me first I was a youngster of twelve or so. he took a fancy to me. He was a patentee of the Openshaw unbreakable tire. so in order to give you an idea of the facts. About 1869 or 1870 he came back to Europe and took a small estate in Sussex. It is a hereditary matter. and his reason for leaving them was his aversion to the negroes. where he was reported to have done very well. and of a most retiring disposition. where he remained for three or four years. My father had a small factory at Coventry. He drank a great deal of brandy and smoked very heavily.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 132 business. and there he would take his exercise. I must go back to the commencement of the affair. though very often for weeks on end he would never leave his room. “He didn’t mind me. and his business met with such success that he was able to sell it and to retire upon a handsome competence. During all the years that he lived at Horsham. At the time of the war he fought in Jackson’s army. where he rose to be a colonel. not even his own brother. fierce and quick-tempered. in fact. When Lee laid down his arms my uncle returned to his plantation.

and he would make me his representative both with the servants and with the tradespeople. His lip had fallen. so long as I did not disturb him in his privacy. after he had been eight or nine years in England. and he had no friends of any sort. and rising from the table he retired to his room. but I was never able to see more than such a collection of old trunks and bundles as would be expected in such a room. With a boy’s curiosity I have peeped through the keyhole.’ said he.!’ he shrieked. leaving me palpitating with horror. There was one singular exception. out there jumped five little dried orange pips. ‘K. his skin the colour of putty. K. however. and he glared at the envelope which he still held in his trembling hand. for he had a single room. ‘From India!’ said he as he took it up. “‘Death. which was invariably locked. It was not a common thing for him to receive letters. his eyes were protruding. ‘My God. He begged my father to let me live with him and he was very kind to me in his way. I took up the envelope Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . When he was sober he used to be fond of playing backgammon and draughts with me.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 133 would be in the year 1878. for his bills were all paid in ready money. which pattered down upon his plate. and then. “One day—it was in March. my sins have overtaken me!’ “‘What is it. my God. a lumber-room up among the attics. so that by the time that I was sixteen I was quite master of the house. and which he would never permit either me or anyone else to enter. ‘Pondicherry postmark! What can this be?’ Opening it hurriedly. I began to laugh at this. uncle?’ I cried. I kept all the keys and could go where I liked and do what I liked. 1883—a letter with a foreign stamp lay upon the table in front of the colonel’s plate. K. but the laugh was struck from my lips at the sight of his face.

with a start. and as I ascended the stair I met him coming down with an old rusty key. The fire was burning brightly. with all its advantages and all its disadvantages. descend to you. If you can enjoy it in peace. I leave my estate. my boy. and I pondered over it and turned it every way in my mind without being able to make anything of it. in one hand. As I glanced at the box I noticed. ‘Tell Mary that I shall want a fire in my room to-day. John. just above the gum.’ “I signed the paper as directed. and send down to Fordham. “‘I wish you. whence it will.’ said my uncle. and leave it to your deadliest enemy.’ “I did as he ordered. no doubt. take my advice. There was nothing else save the five dried pips. but I’ll checkmate them still. I am sorry to give you such a two-edged thing. The singular incident made. What could be the reason of his overpowering terror? I left the breakfast-table. in the other.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 134 and saw scrawled in red ink upon the inner flap. and in the grate there was a mass of black. “‘They may do what they like. well and good! If you find you cannot. Fordham shows you. the deepest impression upon me. which must have belonged to the attic. the letter K three times repeated.’ said he with an oath. ‘to witness my will. but I can’t say what turn things are going to take. fluffy ashes. Kindly sign the paper where Mr. like a cashbox. Yet I could not shake off the vague feeling of dread which it left Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and when the lawyer arrived I was asked to step up to the room. your father. and a small brass box. to my brother. as you may think. the Horsham lawyer. and the lawyer took it away with him. as of burned paper. while the brass box stood open and empty beside it. that upon the lid was printed the treble K which I had read in the morning upon the envelope.

he would rush tumultuously in at the door and lock and bar it behind him. had much ado to persuade myself that he had gone out of his way to meet it. screaming out that he was afraid of no man. to come to an end of the matter. There was no sign of any violence. At such times I have seen his face. and not to abuse your patience. and of some 14. The matter passed. “Well. I foresee. there came a night when he made one of those drunken sallies from which he never came back. glisten with moisture. Most of his time he would spend in his room.” “One moment.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 135 behind. so that the jury. however. Holmes. but sometimes he would emerge in a sort of drunken frenzy and would burst out of the house and tear about the garden with a revolver in his hand.” Holmes interposed. with the door locked upon the inside. as though it were new raised from a basin. one of the most remarkable to which I have ever listened. brought in a verdict of ‘suicide. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . When these hot fits were over however.000 pounds. by man or devil. and my father entered into possession of the estate. when we went to search for him. He drank more than ever. Mr. however. like a sheep in a pen. who knew how he winced from the very thought of death. which lay to his credit at the bank. having regard to his known eccentricity. We found him.’ But I. which lay at the foot of the garden. and he was less inclined for any sort of society. I could see a change in my uncle. even on a cold day. and that he was not to be cooped up. “your statement is. face downward in a little green-scummed pool. and the water was but two feet deep. though the sensation grew less keen as the weeks passed and nothing happened to disturb the usual routine of our lives. like a man who can brazen it out no longer against the terror which lies at the roots of his soul.

” “The letter arrived on March 10. On the fourth day after the new year I heard my father give a sharp cry of surprise as we sat together at the breakfast-table. and were mostly concerned with politics. We found the brass box there. K. and the date of his supposed suicide. and a register’ written beneath. there was nothing of much importance in the attic save a great many scattered papers and note-books bearing upon my uncle’s life in America. He had always laughed at what he called my cock-and-bull story about the colonel. he. although its contents had been destroyed. These. Some of them were of the war time and showed that he had done his duty well and had borne the repute of a brave soldier. On the inside of the cover was a paper label. and ‘Letters. Others were of a date during the reconstruction of the Southern states. Pray proceed.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 136 Let me have the date of the reception by your uncle of the letter. it was the beginning of ’84 when my father came to live at Horsham. K.” “When my father took over the Horsham property. for he had evidently taken a strong part in opposing the carpet-bag politicians who had been sent down from the North. sitting with a newly opened envelope in one hand and five dried orange pips in the outstretched palm of the other one. but he Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . receipts. at my request.” “Thank you. There he was. indicated the nature of the papers which had been destroyed by Colonel Openshaw. His death was seven weeks later. we presume. 1883. “Well. which had been always locked up. For the rest. with the initials of K. made a careful examination of the attic. memoranda. and all went as well as possible with us until the January of ’85. repeated upon it. upon the night of May 2d.

what on earth does this mean. Major Freebody.’ said I.’ I answered. “‘Why. Nothing of the sort. “My heart had turned to lead. “‘What papers? What sundial?’ he asked.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 137 looked very scared and puzzled now that the same thing had come upon himself. gripping hard at his courage.. “‘The sundial in the garden. ‘So it is. But what is this written above them?’ “‘Put the papers on the sundial. “‘Some preposterous practical joke. ‘We are in a civilized land here.’ said he. “‘And be laughed at for my pains. and we can’t have tomfoolery of this kind. with a heart which was full of forebodings.’ “‘Pooh!’ said he. for it seemed to me that he was farther from danger Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .’ I said. peeping over his shoulder. “On the third day after the coming of the letter my father went from home to visit an old friend of his.’ he cried. Where does the thing come from?’ “‘From Dundee. ‘but the papers must be those that are destroyed. John?’ he stammered.’ “‘Then let me do so?’ “‘No.’ “It was in vain to argue with him. I won’t have a fuss made about such nonsense.’ said I.’ “‘I should certainly speak to the police. ‘Here are the very letters. “He looked inside the envelope. I forbid you. I was glad that he should go. who is in command of one of the forts upon Portsdown Hill. There is no other. ‘What have I to do with sundials and papers? I shall take no notice of such nonsense. K. for he was a very obstinate man. however. glancing at the postmark.’ I read. K. ‘It is K. I went about.

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 138 when he was away from home. and that it had ended with the last generation. the jury had no hesitation in bringing in a verdict of ‘death from accidental causes. and as the country was unknown to him. that my poor father met his end. yesterday morning the blow fell in the very shape in which it had come upon my father. no footmarks. I was in error. and that I was well-nigh certain that some foul plot had been woven round him. however.” The young man took from his waistcoat a crumpled envelope. no robbery.’ Carefully as I examined every fact connected with his death. imploring me to come at once. My father had fallen over one of the deep chalk-pits which abound in the neighbourhood. but he passed away without having ever recovered his consciousness. I hurried to him. “It was in January. “In this sinister way I came into my inheritance. no record of strangers having been seen upon the roads. Upon the second day of his absence I received a telegram from the major. and that the danger would be as pressing in one house as in another. been returning from Fareham in the twilight. ’85. I was unable to find anything which could suggest the idea of murder. and two years and eight months have elapsed since then. He had. During that time I have lived happily at Horsham. You will ask me why I did not dispose of it? I answer. with a shattered skull. as it appears. There were no signs of violence. I had begun to take comfort too soon. and I had begun to hope that this curse had passed way from the family. In that. and the chalk-pit unfenced. because I was well convinced that our troubles were in some way dependent upon an incident in my uncle’s life. however. and was lying senseless. And yet I need not tell you that my mind was far from at ease. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .

which no foresight and no precautions can guard against. or you are lost. “This is the envelope. “Nothing. who may remain in the house with me. I seem to be in the grasp of some resistless. I have felt like one of those poor rabbits when the snake is writhing towards it.” he continued. I am convinced that the inspector has formed the opinion that the letters are all practical jokes.” “Tut! tut!” cried Sherlock Holmes.’” “What have you done?” asked Holmes. however. K.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 139 and turning to the table he shook out upon it five little dried orange pips. Within are the very words which were upon my father’s last message: ‘K.” Holmes shook his clenched hands in the air. This is no time for despair. white hands—“I have felt helpless.” “Nothing?” “To tell the truth”—he sank his face into his thin. “Incredible imbecility!” he cried. and then ‘Put the papers on the sundial. K. and were not to be connected with the warnings.” “I have seen the police. “They have. Nothing but energy can save you.’.” “Ah!” “But they listened to my story with a smile. allowed me a policeman.” “Has he come with you to-night?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “The postmark is London—eastern division. man. inexorable evil. “You must act. as the jury stated. and that the deaths of my relations were really accidents.

“March. “I have some remembrance. The writing is undoubtedly my uncle’s. blue-tinted paper. Set the pips on McCauley. of Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Same old platform. drawing out a piece of discoloured. Beyond the mention of pips. and I am inclined to think that it may be one of the papers which has. I found this single sheet upon the floor of his room. We should have acted before this. Paramore. above all. Hudson came. “Why did you come to me. I suppose.” Holmes moved the lamp. It was headed.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 140 “No. and in that way has escaped destruction. “and. and we both bent over the sheet of paper. 1869. He rummaged in his coat pocket.” “It is really two days since you had the letter. I do not see that it helps us much. I think myself that it is a page from some private diary. than that which you have placed before us—no suggestive detail which might help us?” “There is one thing.” and beneath were the following enigmatical notices: 4th. fluttered out from among the others. perhaps. and John Swain.” Again Holmes raved in the air.” said John Openshaw.” he cried. It was only to-day that I spoke to Major Prendergast about my troubles and was advised by him to come to you.” said he. why did you not come at once?” “I did not know. “that on the day when my uncle burned the papers I observed that the small. unburned margins which lay amid the ashes were of this particular colour. 7th. You have no further evidence. which showed by its ragged edge that it had indeed been torn from a book. His orders were to stay in the house. and. he laid it out upon the table.

And. for I do not think that there can be a doubt that Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Do you understand?” “Entirely. You must also put in a note to say that all the other papers were burned by your uncle. It must be done at once. and that this is the only one which remains. John Swain cleared. You must assert that in such words as will carry conviction with them.” “What shall I do?” “There is but one thing to do. or anything of the sort. 9th. All well. at present.” said the young man. 10th. 12th. Having done this.” “Do not lose an instant. Visited Paramore. as directed.” “I thank you. while theirs is already woven.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 141 St. “And now you must on no account lose another instant. folding up the paper and returning it to our visitor. take care of yourself in the meanwhile. The second is to clear up the mystery and to punish the guilty parties. Augustine. rising and pulling on his overcoat. I shall certainly do as you advise. “You have given me fresh life and hope. I think that we may gain that by means of the law. The first consideration is to remove the pressing danger which threatens you. “Thank you!” said Holmes. You must get home instantly and act.” “Do not think of revenge. but we have our web to weave. you must at once put the box out upon the sundial. We cannot spare time even to discuss what you have told me. McCauley cleared. You must put this piece of paper which you have shown us into the brass box which you have described. above all.

And yet you cannot guard yourself too closely.” “I shall see you at Horsham.” “That is well. And yet this John Openshaw seems to me to be walking amid even greater perils than did the Sholtos. with his head sunk forward and his eyes bent upon the red glow of the fire.” He shook hands with us and took his leave. perhaps.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 142 you are threatened by a very real and imminent danger. the Sign of Four.” “But have you.” I asked. Sherlock Holmes sat for some time in silence.” he remarked at last. “that of all our cases we have had none more fantastic than this. Watson. “formed any definite conception as to Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Save. with news as to the box and the papers. This strange.” “Save. yes. It is there that I shall seek it. and leaning back in his chair he watched the blue smoke-rings as they chased each other up to the ceiling. or in two days.” “Well. your secret lies in London. perhaps. Then he lit his pipe. I shall take your advice in every particular.” “It is not yet nine. “I think. The streets will be crowded. then?” “No.” “I am armed. wild story seemed to have come to us from amid the mad elements—blown in upon us like a sheet of sea-weed in a gale—and now to have been reabsorbed by them once more. Outside the wind still screamed and the rain splashed and pattered against the windows. so I trust that you may be in safety.” “Then I shall call upon you in a day. that. How do you go back? “By train from Waterloo. To-morrow I shall set to work upon your case.

We have not yet grasped the results which the reason alone can attain to.” “Yes. which. astronomy. however. that a man should possess all knowledge which is likely to be useful to him in his work..” he answered. and this I have endeavoured in my case to do. “It was a singular document. As Cuvier could correctly describe a whole animal by the contemplation of a single bone. in the early days of our friendship. deduce from it not only all the chain of events which led up to it but also all the results which would follow from it. is a somewhat rare accomplishment. a possession of all knowledge. I remember.” he remarked. you on one occasion. so the observer who has thoroughly understood one link in a series of incidents should be able to accurately state all the other ones. as you will readily see. when he had once been shown a single fact in all its bearings. K. “would. both before and after. Problems may be solved in the study which have baffled all those who have sought a solution by the aid of their senses.” I answered. and politics were marked at zero. to its highest pitch. and this in itself implies. and why does he pursue this unhappy family?” Sherlock Holmes closed his eyes and placed his elbows upon the arms of his chair. geology profound as regards the mudArthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “The ideal reasoner. It is not so impossible. Philosophy. “Then what are they? Who is this K. To carry the art. however. Botany variable. defined my limits in a very precise fashion. with his finger-tips together. it is necessary that the reasoner should be able to utilize all the facts which have come to his knowledge. K. even in these days of free education and encyclopaedias.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 143 what these perils are?” “There can be no question as to their nature. If I remember rightly. laughing.

and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library. Men at his time of life do not change all their habits and exchange willingly the charming climate of Florida for the lonely life of an English provincial town. Did you remark the postmarks of those letters?” “The first was from Pondicherry. we can only deduce that by considering the formidable letters which were received by himself and his successors. In the first place. violin-player. Kindly hand me down the letter K of the American Encyclopaedia which stands upon the shelf beside you.” “From East London. the second from Dundee.” he said. Thank you. I think. we may start with a strong presumption that Colonel Openshaw had some very strong reason for leaving America. As to what it was he feared. were the main points of my analysis. “Well. where he can get it if he wants it. as I said then. His extreme love of solitude in England suggests the idea that he was in fear of someone or something. and selfpoisoner by cocaine and tobacco. anatomy unsystematic. What do you deduce from that?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . boxer. lawyer. and the third from London.” Holmes grinned at the last item. we need certainly to muster all our resources. chemistry eccentric. Now let us consider the situation and see what may be deduced from it. so we may assume as a working hypothesis that it was fear of someone or something which drove him from America. Now. for such a case as the one which has been submitted to us to-night. that a man should keep his little brain-attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 144 stains from any region within fifty miles of town. sensational literature and crime records unique. “I say now. swordsman. Those.

It is probable.” “It is possible. this relentless persecution?” “The papers which Openshaw carried are obviously of vital Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . And now you see the deadly urgency of this new case. as a matter of fact. and therefore we cannot count upon delay. In the case of Pondicherry. That the writer was on board of a ship. “What can it mean. There can be no doubt that the probability—the strong probability—is that the writer was on board of a ship. It looks as if they always send their singular warning or token before them when starting upon their mission. and why I urged young Openshaw to caution. seven weeks elapsed.” “Excellent. Does that suggest anything?” “A greater distance to travel.” “Good God!” I cried.” “There is at least a presumption that the vessel in which the man or men are is a sailing-ship. And now let us consider another point. The blow has always fallen at the end of the time which it would take the senders to travel the distance.” “Then I do not see the point. in Dundee it was only some three or four days.” “More than that. But. You see how quickly the deed followed the sign when it came from Dundee. But this one comes from London.” “But the letter had also a greater distance to come.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 145 “They are all seaports. seven weeks elapsed between the threat and its fulfilment. We have already a clew. If they had come from Pondicherry in a steamer they would have arrived almost as soon as their letter. I think that those seven weeks represented the difference between the mailboat which brought the letter and the sailing vessel which brought the writer.

Its power was used for political purposes. “Here it is. This terrible secret society was formed by some ex-Confederate soldiers in the Southern states after the Civil War. and it rapidly formed local branches in different parts of the country. ceases to be the initials of an individual and becomes the badge of a society. or might fly from the country. notably in Tennessee. On receiving this the victim might either openly abjure his former ways. K. In this way you see K.” Holmes turned over the leaves of the book upon his knee. the Carolinas. principally for the terrorizing of the negro voters and the murdering and driving from the country of those who were opposed to its views.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 146 importance to the person or persons in the sailing-ship. and Florida. Louisiana. Its outrages were usually preceded by a warning sent to the marked man in some fantastic but generally recognized shape—a sprig of oak-leaves in some parts. bending forward and sinking his voice—“have you never heard of the Ku Klux Klan?” “I never have. If he braved the matter out. A name derived from the fanciful resemblance to the sound produced by cocking a rifle. A single man could not have carried out two deaths in such a way as to deceive a coroner’s jury. There must have been several in it. K. Their papers they mean to have.” said he presently: “Ku Klux Klan. melon seeds or orange pips in others. be the holder of them who it may.” “But of what society?” “Have you never—” said Sherlock Holmes. Georgia. I think that it is quite clear that there must be more than one of them. death would unfailingly come Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and they must have been men of resource and determination.

I fear. and finally that C was visited. or in which any of its outrages were traced home to the perpetrators. so hand me over my violin and let us try to forget for half an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of our fellowArthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . that we may let some light into this dark place. For some years the organization flourished in spite of the efforts of the United States government and of the better classes of the community in the South. Doctor. It is no wonder that he and his family have some of the more implacable spirits upon their track. “You will observe. and so systematic its methods. sent the society’s warning to them. or left the country. that there is hardly a case upon record where any man succeeded in braving it with impunity.” said Holmes. in the year 1869.” “Then the page we have seen—” “Is such as we might expect. “that the sudden breaking up of the society was coincident with the disappearance of Openshaw from America with their papers. and usually in some strange and unforeseen manner. Well. and I believe that the only chance young Openshaw has in the meantime is to do what I have told him. with. Eventually. It ran. the movement rather suddenly collapsed. ‘sent the pips to A. There is nothing more to be said or to be done to-night. I think. a sinister result for C. It may well have been cause and effect. if I remember right. and C’—that is. Then there are successive entries that A and B cleared. and that there may be many who will not sleep easy at night until it is recovered. although there have been sporadic outbreaks of the same sort since that date.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 147 upon him. B. So perfect was the organization of the society. You can understand that this register and diary may implicate some of the first men in the South. laying down the volume.

It rested upon a heading which sent a chill to my heart.” I cried. How was it done?” He spoke calmly. “you are too late. “I feared as much. of the H Division. it was quite impossible to effect a rescue. a very busy day before me in looking into this case of young Openshaw’s. however.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 148 men. and. and the heading ‘Tragedy Near Waterloo Bridge. and the sun was shining with a subdued brightness through the dim veil which hangs over the great city. was given.” It had cleared in the morning. The alarm. I foresee. by the aid of the water-police. Just ring the bell and the maid will bring up your coffee. heard a cry for help and a splash in the water. after all.’ Here is the account: “Between nine and ten last night Police-Constable Cook. however. so that. I lifted the unopened newspaper from the table and glanced my eye over it. was extremely dark and stormy. I shall commence with the City. “I have. but I could see that he was deeply moved. The night. on duty near Waterloo Bridge.” “You will not go there first?” “No. in spite of the help of several passers-by. I may have to go down to Horsham. “My eye caught the name of Openshaw.” said he. “It will very much depend upon the results of my first inquiries.” “Ah!” said he. “Holmes.” As I waited. the body was eventually Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “What steps will you take?” I asked. laying down his cup. “You will excuse me for not waiting for you. Sherlock Holmes was already at breakfast when I came down.

Holmes more depressed and shaken than I had ever seen him.” he exclaimed at last. It becomes a personal matter with me now. as it appears from an envelope which was found in his pocket. for their purpose. and that I should send him away to his death—!” He sprang from his chair and paced about the room in uncontrollable agitation.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . no doubt. if God sends me health. That he should come to me for help. and there can be no doubt that the deceased had been the victim of an unfortunate accident. “That hurts my pride. “They must be cunning devils. no doubt. “How could they have decoyed him down there? The Embankment is not on the direct line to the station. even on such a night. was too crowded. which should have the effect of calling the attention of the authorities to the condition of the riverside landing-stages. with a flush upon his sallow cheeks and a nervous clasping and unclasping of his long thin hands. It proved to be that of a young gentleman whose name. The bridge. we shall see who will win in the long run. It is conjectured that he may have been hurrying down to catch the last train from Waterloo Station. and. was John Openshaw. and whose residence is near Horsham. “It is a petty feeling. and that in his haste and the extreme darkness he missed his path and walked over the edge of one of the small landing-places for river steamboats. I am going out now!” “To the police?” “No.” We sat in silence for some minutes. Watson. When I have spun the web they may take the flies. but it hurts my pride. I shall set my hand upon this gang. The body exhibited no traces of violence.” he said at last. but not before. Watson. I shall be my own police.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 149 recovered. Well.

“Starving. looking pale and worn.” “And who is this Captain Calhoun?” “The leader of the gang.” “Nothing?” “Not a bite. and tearing it to pieces he squeezed out the pips upon the table. On the inside of the flap he wrote “S. I shall have the others. 0.” “And how have you succeeded?” “Well. Young Openshaw shall not long remain unavenged. but he first. Savannah. It is well thought of!” “What do you mean?” He took an orange from the cupboard. Bark Lone Star.” said he. It was nearly ten o’clock before he entered. Watson. I have had nothing since breakfast. He will find it as sure a precursor of his fate as Openshaw did before him.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 150 All day I was engaged in my professional work. let us put their own devilish trade-mark upon them.” I remarked. He walked up to the sideboard. H. washing it down with a long draught of water. Georgia. “It may give him a sleepless night. then?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “That will await him when he enters port.” “You have a clew?” “I have them in the hollow of my hand. and it was late in the evening before I returned to Baker Street. “You are hungry. Of these he took five and thrust them into an envelope. chuckling. for J.” “How did you trace it. It had escaped my memory. I had no time to think of it.” Then he sealed it and addressed it to “Captain James Calhoun. and tearing a piece from the loaf he devoured it voraciously. Why. Sherlock Holmes had not come back yet.

I wired to Gravesend and learned that she had passed some time ago. and when I found that the bark Lone Star was there in January.” “I was not and am not sure which. also. although it was reported as having cleared from London. that they were all three away Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and as the wind is easterly I have no doubt that she is now past the Goodwins and not very far from the Isle of Wight.” “Yes?” “The Lone Star had arrived here last week.” said he. the name is that which is given to one of the states of the Union. I know.” “What then?” “I searched the Dundee records. the Lone Star. all covered with dates and names. my suspicion became a certainty. “I have spent the whole day.” “Texas. following the future career of every vessel which touched at Pondicherry in January and February in ’83. “over Lloyd’s registers and files of the old papers. I then inquired as to the vessels which lay at present in the port of London. There were thirty-six ships of fair tonnage which were reported there during those months. I went down to the Albert Dock and found that she had been taken down the river by the early tide this morning. instantly attracted my attention. He and the two mates. I think. the only native-born Americans in the ship. since. then?” “Oh. I have my hand upon him. one. homeward bound to Savannah. but I knew that the ship must have an American origin. The others are Finns and Germans. Of these.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 151 He took a large sheet of paper from his pocket. are as I learn.” “What will you do. ’85.

however. We waited long for news of the Lone Star of Savannah. with the letters “L. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and that is all which we shall ever know of the fate of the Lone Star. in the best laid of human plans. but none ever reached us.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 152 from the ship last night. was upon their track.” There is ever a flaw. We did at last hear that somewhere far out in the Atlantic a shattered stern-post of the boat was seen swinging in the trough of a wave. S. and the murderers of John Openshaw were never to receive the orange pips which would show them that another. and the cable will have informed the police of Savannah that these three gentlemen are badly wanted here upon a charge of murder. I had it from the stevedore who has been loading their cargo.” carved upon it. as cunning and as resolute as themselves. By the time that their sailing-ship reaches Savannah the mail-boat will have carried this letter. Very long and very severe were the equinoctial gales that year.

“I do so want a little help. with yellow. and then. George’s. all huddled in a chair. and a lady. he had drenched his tobacco with laudanum in an attempt to produce the same effects. as I understand. I sat up in my chair. for I was newly come back from a weary day. a few hurried words. THE MAN WITH THE TWISTED LIP sa Whitney. she ran forward. clad in some dark-coloured stuff. about the hour when a man gives his first yawn and glances at the clock.” I groaned. The habit grew upon him.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 153 Adventure VI. and then quick steps upon the linoleum. “Oh. from some foolish freak when he was at college. and for many years he continued to be a slave to the drug. suddenly losing her self-control. that the practice is easier to attain than to get rid of. drooping lids. an object of mingled horror and pity to his friends and relatives. and my wife laid her needle-work down in her lap and made a little face of disappointment. I can see him now. D. “You will excuse my calling so late. ’89—there came a ring to my bell. for having read De Quincey’s description of his dreams and sensations. pasty face.. “You’ll have to go out. the wreck and ruin of a noble man. and sobbed upon her shoulder. He found. One night—it was in June. and pin-point pupils.D. as so many more have done. Principal of the Theological College of St. I’m in such trouble!” she cried. brother of the late Elias Whitney. with a black veil. was much addicted to opium. Our own door flew open. threw her arms about my wife’s neck. entered the room.” she began. “A patient!” said she.” I Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . We heard the door open.

But now the spell had been upon him eight-and-forty hours. so l came straight to you. made use of an opium den in the farthest east of the City. when the fit was on him.” “I didn’t know what to do. pulling up her veil. a young and timid woman. Now. “It was very sweet of you to come. to me as a doctor. We soothed and comforted her by such words as we could find. “it is Kate Whitney. Or should you rather that I sent James off to bed?” “Oh. But what was she to do? How could she.” said my wife. Hitherto his orgies had always been confined to one day. and sit here comfortably and tell us all about it. no. Folk who were in grief came to my wife like birds to a light-house. too. she was sure of it.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 154 “Why. How you startled me.” That was always the way. and he lay there. Kate! I had not an idea who you were when you came in. I am so frightened about him!” It was not the first time that she had spoken to us of her husband’s trouble. and he had come back. breathing in the poison or sleeping off the effects. in the evening. She had the surest information that of late he had. to my wife as an old friend and school companion. It’s about Isa. no! I want the doctor’s advice and help. doubtless among the dregs of the docks. in Upper Swandam Lane. make her way into such a place and pluck her husband out from among the ruffians who surrounded him? Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . twitching and shattered. at the Bar of Gold. Did she know where her husband was? Was it possible that we could bring him back to her? It seems that it was. you must have some wine and water. He has not been home for two days. There he was to be found.

Out of the black shadows there glimmered little red circles of light. bent knees. like the forecastle of an emigrant ship. And so in ten minutes I had left my armchair and cheery sitting-room behind me. now faint. and terraced with wooden berths. worn hollow in the centre by the ceaseless tread of drunken feet. bowed shoulders. I promised her on my word that I would send him home in a cab within two hours if he were indeed at the address which she had given me. thick and heavy with the brown opium smoke. though the future only could show how strange it was to be. and of course there was but one way out of it. and was speeding eastward in a hansom on a strange errand. now bright. and as such I had influence over him. why should she come at all? I was Isa Whitney’s medical adviser. low room. approached by a steep flight of steps leading down to a black gap like the mouth of a cave. I passed down the steps. with here and there a dark. and by the light of a flickering oil-lamp above the door I found the latch and made my way into a long. as the burning poison waxed or waned in the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I could manage it better if I were alone. as a second thought. But there was no great difficulty in the first stage of my adventure. Between a slop-shop and a gin-shop. Through the gloom one could dimly catch a glimpse of bodies lying in strange fantastic poses.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 155 There was the case. and chins pointing upward. I found the den of which I was in search. heads thrown back. as it seemed to me at the time. Ordering my cab to wait. Might I not escort her to this place? And then. Upper Swandam Lane is a vile alley lurking behind the high wharves which line the north side of the river to the east of London Bridge. lack-lustre eye turned upon the newcomer.

and then suddenly tailing off into silence. staring into the fire. “I say. As I entered. Mr.” said he. Your wife has been waiting this two days for you. and peering through the gloom I saw Whitney. with every nerve in a twitter. with his jaw resting upon his two fists. I have not come to stay. But you’ve got mixed. and I wish to speak with him. their conversation coming in gushes. At the farther end was a small brazier of burning charcoal.” “Good heavens! I thought it was Wednesday. and his elbows upon his knees. what o’clock is it?” “Nearly eleven. Watson. “Thank you. man. June 19th. He was in a pitiable state of reaction. each mumbling out his own thoughts and paying little heed to the words of his neighbour. and unkempt. but some muttered to themselves. thin old man. a sallow Malay attendant had hurried up with a pipe for me and a supply of the drug. It is Wednesday. low. “My God! It’s Watson. beckoning me to an empty berth. The most lay silent. staring out at me. You should be ashamed of yourself!” “So I am. Isa Whitney.” said I.” There was a movement and an exclamation from my right.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 156 bowls of the metal pipes. and others talked together in a strange. beside which on a three-legged wooden stool there sat a tall. haggard. pale. for I have only been Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “Of what day?” “Of Friday. monotonous voice. What d’you want to frighten the chap for?” He sank his face onto his arms and began to sob in a high treble key. Watson. “I tell you that it is Friday. “There is a friend of mine here.

as though it had dropped in sheer lassitude from his fingers.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 157 here a few hours. As I passed the tall man who sat by the brazier I felt a sudden pluck at my skirt. I can do nothing for myself. very wrinkled. as he turned his face half round to the company once more. His form had filled out. Watson. bent with age. an opium pipe dangling down from between his knees.” “Then I shall go in it. and a low voice whispered. He had turned his back so that none could see him but I. and looking about for the manager. “Holmes!” I whispered. three pipes. They could only have come from the old man at my side. sitting by the fire and grinning at my surprise. subsided into a doddering. It took all my self-control to prevent me from breaking out into a cry of astonishment. and instantly. Find what I owe. But I’ll go home with you. I glanced down. But I must owe something. and there. If you would have the great kindness to get rid of that sottish friend of Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I wouldn’t frighten Kate—poor little Kate. his wrinkles were gone. and then look back at me. the dull eyes had regained their fire. was none other than Sherlock Holmes.” The words fell quite distinctly upon my ear.” he answered. Give me your hand! Have you a cab?” “Yes. stupefying fumes of the drug. and yet he sat now as absorbed as ever. holding my breath to keep out the vile.” I walked down the narrow passage between the double row of sleepers. very thin. “what on earth are you doing in this den?” “As low as you can. “I have excellent ears. loose-lipped senility. I have one waiting. “Walk past me. He made a slight motion to me to approach him. I am all off colour. four pipes—I forget how many. I took two steps forward and looked back.

and I was walking down the street with Sherlock Holmes.” “But not more so than I to find you.” said he. I should recommend you also to send a note by the cabman to your wife to say that you have thrown in your lot with me. and put forward with such a quiet air of mastery. Watson. however. led him out to the cab. paid Whitney’s bill. In a very short time a decrepit figure had emerged from the opium den. For two streets he shuffled along with a bent back and an uncertain foot. and for the rest. I felt. “I suppose. that when Whitney was once confined in the cab my mission was practically accomplished.” “I was certainly surprised to find you there.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 158 yours I should be exceedingly glad to have a little talk with you.” “I came to find a friend. “that you imagine that I have added opium-smoking to cocaine injections. Then.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” It was difficult to refuse any of Sherlock Holmes’s requests.” “And I to find an enemy. glancing quickly round. I shall be with you in five minutes. If you will wait outside. You may safely trust him. and all the other little weaknesses on which you have favoured me with your medical views. for they were always so exceedingly definite.” “Then pray send him home in it.” “I have a cab outside. and seen him driven through the darkness. he straightened himself out and burst into a hearty fit of laughter. for he appears to be too limp to get into any mischief. In a few minutes I had written my note. I could not wish anything better than to be associated with my friend in one of those singular adventures which were the normal condition of his existence.

one of my natural enemies. I am staying there while I Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and I fear that Neville St.” He put his two forefingers between his teeth and whistled shrilly—a signal which was answered by a similar whistle from the distance. for I have used it before now for my own purposes.” said Holmes. My room at The Cedars is a double-bedded one. throwing out two golden tunnels of yellow light from its side lanterns. Had I been recognized in that den my life would not have been worth an hour’s purchase. and a chronicler still more so. We should be rich men if we had 1000 pounds for every poor devil who has been done to death in that den. But our trap should be here. and the rascally Lascar who runs it has sworn to have vengeance upon me. Watson.” “What! You do not mean bodies?” “Ay. or. Watson. “Now. near the corner of Paul’s Wharf. as I have done before now.” “The Cedars?” “Yes. which could tell some strange tales of what has passed through it upon the moonless nights. Clair has entered it never to leave it more. St. shall I say.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 159 “An enemy?” “Yes. followed shortly by the rattle of wheels and the clink of horses’ hoofs. Clair’s house. Briefly. that is Mr. I am in the midst of a very remarkable inquiry. and I have hoped to find a clew in the incoherent ramblings of these sots. There is a trap-door at the back of that building. It is the vilest murder-trap on the whole riverside. “You’ll come with me. won’t you? “If I can be of use. as a tall dog-cart dashed up through the gloom. Watson. a trusty comrade is always of use.” “Oh. bodies. my natural prey.

with the murky river flowing sluggishly beneath us. which widened gradually. we shall not need you. until we were flying across a broad balustraded bridge. it is a great thing for me to have someone to talk to. when he shook himself. We had driven several miles.” “But I am all in the dark. and we dashed away through the endless succession of sombre and deserted streets. Watson. We have a seven-mile drive before us. Jump up here. Give her her head. in Kent. regular footfall of the policeman. All right.” “Of course you are. Here’s half a crown. “It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.” “Where is it. ’Pon my word. You’ll know all about it presently. Beyond lay another dull wilderness of bricks and mortar. then!” He flicked the horse with his whip. for my own thoughts are Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . with his head sunk upon his breast.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 160 conduct the inquiry. So long. and lit up his pipe with the air of a man who has satisfied himself that he is acting for the best. while I sat beside him. “You have a grand gift of silence. shrugged his shoulders. Holmes drove in silence. John.” said he. curious to learn what this new quest might be which seemed to tax his powers so sorely. and were beginning to get to the fringe of the belt of suburban villas. or the songs and shouts of some belated party of revellers. about eleven. and yet afraid to break in upon the current of his thoughts. then?” “Near Lee. its silence broken only by the heavy. and the air of a man who is lost in thought. Look out for me to-morrow. A dull wrack was drifting slowly across the sky. and a star or two twinkled dimly here and there through the rifts of the clouds.

Watson. who appeared to have plenty of money. in May. St. I’ll state the case clearly and concisely to you.” “Some years ago—to be definite. returning by the 5:14 from Cannon Street every night. He had no occupation. and a man who is popular with all who know him.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 161 not over-pleasant.. to think that money troubles have been weighing upon his mind. and yet. Clair went into town rather earlier than usual.” “I shall just have time to tell you the facts of the case before we get to Lee. no doubt. 1884—there came to Lee a gentleman. There is no reason. “Last Monday Mr. By degrees he made friends in the neighbourhood. a very affectionate father. and lived generally in good style. then. and maybe you can see a spark where all is dark to me. therefore. Clair is now thirty-seven years of age. a good husband.” “Proceed. I may add that his whole debts at the present moment. and in 1887 he married the daughter of a local brewer. Neville St. by whom he now has two children. laid out the grounds very nicely. He took a large villa. There’s plenty of thread. Now. remarking before he started that he had two important commissions to perform. Mr. Clair by name. but I can’t get the end of it into my hand. Neville St.” “You forget that I know nothing about it. while he has 220 pounds standing to his credit in the Capital and Counties Bank. I was wondering what I should say to this dear little woman to-night when she meets me at the door. is a man of temperate habits. somehow I can get nothing to go upon. as far as we have been able to ascertain amount to 88 pounds l0s. It seems absurdly simple. and that he would bring his Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . but was interested in several companies and went into town as a rule in the morning.

Have you followed me so far?” “It is very clear. she rushed down the steps—for the house was none other than the opium den Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . where you found me to-night. started for the City. proceeded to the company’s office. glancing about in the hope of seeing a cab. his wife received a telegram upon this same Monday. which she describes as being terribly agitated. He waved his hands frantically to her. While she was walking in this way down Swandam Lane. got her packet. he had on neither collar nor necktie. St. Mrs.” “If you remember. Now. The window was open. St. Clair had her lunch. “Convinced that something was amiss with him. and then vanished from the window so suddenly that it seemed to her that he had been plucked back by some irresistible force from behind. did some shopping. and was struck cold to see her husband looking down at her and. and Mrs. by the merest chance. Clair walked slowly. as it seemed to her. to the effect that a small parcel of considerable value which she had been expecting was waiting for her at the offices of the Aberdeen Shipping Company. she suddenly heard an ejaculation or cry. very shortly after his departure. and she distinctly saw his face. and found herself at exactly 4:35 walking through Swandam Lane on her way back to the station. Monday was an exceedingly hot day. One singular point which struck her quick feminine eye was that although he wore some dark coat. you will know that the office of the company is in Fresno Street. as she did not like the neighbourhood in which she found herself. beckoning to her from a second-floor window. Now.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 162 little boy home a box of bricks. if you are well up in your London. which branches out of Upper Swandam Lane. such as he had started to town in.

who thrust her back and. Filled with the most maddening doubts and fears. “This discovery. It was the toy which he had promised to bring home. In fact. by rare good-fortune. it seems. St. Out there fell a cascade of children’s bricks. she rushed down the lane and.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 163 in which you found me to-night—and running through the front room she attempted to ascend the stairs which led to the first floor. made the inspector realize that the matter was serious. pushed her out into the street. At the foot of the stairs. There was no sign of him there. she met this Lascar scoundrel of whom I have spoken. made his home there. who acts as assistant there. in the whole of that floor there was no one to be found save a crippled wretch of hideous aspect. The front room was plainly furnished as a sitting-room and led into a small bedroom. all on their way to their beat. and in spite of the continued resistance of the proprietor. So determined was their denial that the inspector was staggered. which is dry at low tide but is covered at high tide with at least four and a half feet of water. met in Fresno Street a number of constables with an inspector. The rooms were carefully examined. Between the wharf and the bedroom window is a narrow strip. they made their way to the room in which Mr. which looked out upon the back of one of the wharves. who. with a cry. St. The Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and had almost come to believe that Mrs. however. Both he and the Lascar stoutly swore that no one else had been in the front room during the afternoon. The inspector and two men accompanied her back. she sprang at a small deal box which lay upon the table and tore the lid from it. Clair had been deluded when. and results all pointed to an abominable crime. Clair had last been seen. and the evident confusion which the cripple showed. aided by a Dane.

There were no signs of violence upon any of these garments. he could hardly have been more than an accessory to the crime. Clair. Thrust away behind a curtain in the front room were all the clothes of Mr. Some little Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . for the tide was at its very highest at the moment of the tragedy. Neville St. and who was certainly the last human being whose eyes rested upon Neville St. but as. with the exception of his coat. Clair. his socks. The Lascar was known to be a man of the vilest antecedents. Out of the window he must apparently have gone for no other exit could be discovered. Neville St. and there were no other traces of Mr. and his watch—all were there. and several scattered drops were visible upon the wooden floor of the bedroom. he was known to have been at the foot of the stair within a very few seconds of her husband’s appearance at the window. “So much for the Lascar manager. His boots. His name is Hugh Boone. St. by Mrs. and that he could not account in any way for the presence of the missing gentleman’s clothes. He is a professional beggar. Clair. “And now as to the villains who seemed to be immediately implicated in the matter. though in order to avoid the police regulations he pretends to a small trade in wax vestas. On examination traces of blood were to be seen upon the windowsill. and his hideous face is one which is familiar to every man who goes much to the City. and he protested that he had no knowledge as to the doings of Hugh Boone. and the ominous bloodstains upon the sill gave little promise that he could save himself by swimming. Now for the sinister cripple who lives upon the second floor of the opium den. his lodger.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 164 bedroom window was a broad one and opened from below. Clair’s story. His defence was one of absolute ignorance. his hat.

there is. a bulldog chin.” “But a cripple!” said I.” “Pray continue your narrative. and to have been the last man to see the gentleman of whom we are in quest. by its contraction. a pale face disfigured by a horrible scar. which present a singular contrast to the colour of his hair.” “Mrs. but in other respects he appears to be a powerful and well-nurtured man. Watson. “What could he have done singlehanded against a man in the prime of life?” “He is a cripple in the sense that he walks with a limp. A shock of orange hair. upon the left-hand side. too. and a pair of very penetrating dark eyes. has turned up the outer edge of his upper lip. Clair had fainted at the sight of the blood upon the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and I have been surprised at the harvest which he has reaped in a short time. St. cross-legged with his tiny stock of matches on his lap. His appearance. This is the man whom we now learn to have been the lodger at the opium den.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 165 distance down Threadneedle Street. I have watched the fellow more than once before ever I thought of making his professional acquaintance. Surely your medical experience would tell you. and as he is a piteous spectacle a small rain of charity descends into the greasy leather cap which lies upon the pavement beside him. for he is ever ready with a reply to any piece of chaff which may be thrown at him by the passers-by. is so remarkable that no one can pass him without observing him. Here it is that this creature takes his daily seat. that weakness in one limb is often compensated for by exceptional strength in the others. as you may have remarked. you see. a small angle in the wall. does his wit. which. all mark him out from amid the common crowd of mendicants and so.

It was Neville St. Every pocket stuffed with pennies and half-pennies—421 pennies and 270 half-pennies. As to Mrs. loudly protesting. He denied strenuously having ever seen Mr. and not Neville St. but without finding anything which threw any light upon the matter. and that the stains which had been observed there came doubtless from the same source. without anything being found which could incriminate him. I don’t think you would guess. and explained that the bleeding came from there. which had been cut near the nail.” “No. to the policestation. which lay uncovered as the tide receded. St. made a very careful examination of the premises. adding that he had been to the window not long before. And what do you think they found in the pockets?” “I cannot imagine. It Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Clair and swore that the presence of the clothes in his room was as much a mystery to him as to the police. it is true. “And it did. he declared that she must have been either mad or dreaming. There were. Inspector Barton. while the inspector remained upon the premises in the hope that the ebbing tide might afford some fresh clew. who had charge of the case.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 166 window. He was removed. Neville St. some blood-stains upon his right shirt-sleeve. as her presence could be of no help to them in their investigations. though they hardly found upon the mud-bank what they had feared to find. and she was escorted home in a cab by the police. but this fault was soon remedied. One mistake had been made in not arresting Boone instantly. but he pointed to his ring-finger. Clair’s coat. Clair’s assertion that she had actually seen her husband at the window. and he was seized and searched. Clair. as he was allowed some few minutes during which he might have communicated with his friend the Lascar.

sir. and perhaps he has already heard from his Lascar confederate that the police are hurrying up the street.” “But I understand that all the other clothes were found in the room. Clair through the window.” “It certainly sounds feasible. What would he do then? It would of course instantly strike him that he must get rid of the tell-tale garments. He throws it out.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 167 was no wonder that it had not been swept away by the tide. There is not an instant to be lost. He had for years been known as a Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . when it would occur to him that it would swim and not sink. But a human body is a different matter. He would seize the coat. It seemed likely enough that the weighted coat had remained when the stripped body had been sucked away into the river. and only just had time to close the window when the police appeared.” “Well. was arrested and taken to the station. Boone. and be in the act of throwing it out. but the facts might be met speciously enough. Suppose that this man Boone had thrust Neville St. there is no human eye which could have seen the deed. as I have told you. where he has accumulated the fruits of his beggary. Would the body be dressed in a coat alone?” “No. we will take it as a working hypothesis for want of a better. There is a fierce eddy between the wharf and the house. He has little time. for he has heard the scuffle downstairs when the wife tried to force her way up. and would have done the same with the other garments had not he heard the rush of steps below. He rushes to some secret hoard. but it could not be shown that there had ever before been anything against him. then. and he stuffs all the coins upon which he can lay his hands into the pockets to make sure of the coat’s sinking.

I have little doubt.” While Sherlock Holmes had been detailing this singular series of events. where is he now. See that light among the trees? That is The Cedars. we had been whirling through the outskirts of the great town until the last straggling houses had been left behind. whoa!” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . passing over an angle of Surrey. “We have touched on three English counties in our short drive. “Because there are many inquiries which must be made out here. but his life appeared to have been a very quiet and innocent one.” said my companion. starting in Middlesex. however. Just as he finished. Clair was doing in the opium den. St. when I have no news of her husband. Clair has most kindly put two rooms at my disposal. and what Hugh Boone had to do with his disappearance—are all as far from a solution as ever. Here we are. and the questions which have to be solved—what Neville St. I confess that I cannot recall any case within my experience which looked at the first glance so simple and yet which presented such difficulties. Whoa. and beside that lamp sits a woman whose anxious ears have already. where a few lights still glimmered in the windows. I hate to meet her. what happened to him when there. we drove through two scattered villages.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 168 professional beggar. there. Mrs. and ending in Kent. and you may rest assured that she will have nothing but a welcome for my friend and colleague. and we rattled along with a country hedge upon either side of us.” “But why are you not conducting the case from Baker Street?” I asked. “We are on the outskirts of Lee. Watson. There the matter stands at present. caught the clink of our horse’s feet.

one hand upon the door. You must be weary.” “Thank God for that. she gave a cry of hope which sank into a groan as she saw that my companion shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. with a touch of fluffy pink chiffon at her neck and wrists. pressing my hand warmly. either to you or to my friend here. when you consider the blow which has come so suddenly upon us. and if I were not I can very well see that no apology is needed.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 169 We had pulled up in front of a large villa which stood within its own grounds. and springing down. “Well?” she cried. winding graveldrive which led to the house. Dr. A stable-boy had run out to the horse’s head. with eager eyes and parted lips. her body slightly bent.” said I. one half-raised in her eagerness.” said she. Watson. “I am an old campaigner. I am sure. “well?” And then. seeing that there were two of us. If I can be of any assistance. for you have had a long day. her head and face protruded. He has been of most vital use to me in several of my cases. forgive anything that may be wanting in our arrangements.” “My dear madam.” “This is my friend. I followed Holmes up the small. But come in. She stood with her figure outlined against the flood of light. “No good news?” “None. and a little blonde woman stood in the opening.” “No bad?” “No. and a lucky chance has made it possible for me to bring him out and associate him with this investigation. the door flew open. clad in some sort of light mousseline de soie.” “I am delighted to see you. “You will. As we approached. a standing question. I shall be Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .

” “Then perhaps.” “You think that he is dead?” “I do. Holmes. “Frankly.” Sherlock Holmes sprang out of his chair as if he had been galvanized.” “Murdered?” “I don’t say that. to-day. now!” she repeated.” “Upon what point?” “In your heart of hearts. “What!” he roared. madam. standing upon the rug and looking keenly down at him as he leaned back in a basket-chair. then.” “Certainly. upon the table of which a cold supper had been laid out. you will be good enough to explain how it is that I have received a letter from him to-day.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 170 indeed happy.” “Now. nor given to fainting. holding up a little slip of paper in the air. I do not. do you think that Neville is alive?” Sherlock Holmes seemed to be embarrassed by the question. “Yes. real opinion. Sherlock Holmes.” “And on what day did he meet his death?” “On Monday.” said the lady as we entered a well-lit dining-room. I am not hysterical. Mr. “I should very much like to ask you one or two plain questions.” “Do not trouble about my feelings.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Mr.” She stood smiling. I simply wish to hear your real. “May I see it?” “Certainly. Perhaps. “Frankly. madam. to which I beg that you will give a plain answer.

a trifle.” “No. you see. This man has written the name. for it was considerably after midnight.” “One?” “His hand when he wrote hurriedly. and there has then been a pause before he wrote the address. Ha! there has been an enclosure here!” “Yes.” “How can you tell that?” “The name. It is very unlike his usual writing. The envelope was a very coarse one and was stamped with the Gravesend postmark and with the date of that very day.” murmured Holmes. or rather of the day before. is in perfectly black ink. There is a huge error which it may take some little time to rectify. and then blotted. which can only mean that he was not familiar with it. there was a ring.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 171 He snatched it from her in his eagerness. but the enclosure is. Let us now see the letter. All will come well. and yet I know it well. which shows that blottingpaper has been used. “Surely this is not your husband’s writing. His signet-ring. madam.” “And you are sure that this is your husband’s hand?” “One of his hands. which has dried itself. If it had been written straight off. but there is nothing so important as trifles.” “‘Dearest do not be frightened. I had left my chair and was gazing at it over his shoulder. and smoothing it out upon the table he drew over the lamp and examined it intently. Wait in Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . The rest is of the greyish colour. none would be of a deep black shade. It is. “Coarse writing.” “I perceive also that whoever addressed the envelope had to go and inquire as to the address. of course.

‘ “No. proves nothing. you must not discourage me. no. have been written on Monday and only posted to-day.” “If so. And you have no doubt that it is your husband’s hand. Well. by a person who had been chewing tobacco. madam?” “None. It may have been taken from him. On the very day that I saw him last he cut himself in the bedroom. And in this letter you certainly have a very strong piece Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .’ Written in pencil upon the fly-leaf of a book. after all. It may. it is his very own writing!” “Very well.—NEVILLE. much may have happened between. Mr. no water-mark.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 172 patience. Clair. it is. St. I know that all is well with him. Do you think that I would respond to such a trifle and yet be ignorant of his death?” “I have seen too much not to know that the impression of a woman may be more valuable than the conclusion of an analytical reasoner. Neville wrote those words. Holmes. octavo size. the clouds lighten. Hum! Posted to-day in Gravesend by a man with a dirty thumb.” “And they were posted to-day at Gravesend. though I should not venture to say that the danger is over. however. and yet I in the diningroom rushed upstairs instantly with the utmost certainty that something had happened. Mrs.” “Unless this is a clever forgery to put us on the wrong scent. Ha! And the flap has been gummed. There is so keen a sympathy between us that I should know if evil came upon him.” “But he must be alive. The ring.” “That is possible. Mr.” “Oh. if I am not very much in error. Holmes.

It is unthinkable. gave an inarticulate cry?” “Yes. Your husband.” “And you thought he was pulled back?” “He disappeared so suddenly. why should he remain away from you?” “I cannot imagine. and the Lascar was at the foot of the stairs. as I understand.” “He might have leaped back. But if your husband is alive and able to write letters.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 173 of evidence to corroborate your view.” “He only. Astonishment at the unexpected sight of you might cause him to throw up his hands?” “It is possible.” “But it might have been a cry of surprise. had his ordinary clothes on?” “But without his collar or tie.” “And on Monday he made no remarks before leaving you?” “No. but this horrible man confessed to having been there. I distinctly saw his bare throat.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “And you were surprised to see him in Swandam Lane?” “Very much so.” “Had he ever spoken of Swandam Lane?” “Never.” “Then he might have called to you?” “He might.” “A call for help. You did not see anyone else in the room?” “No.” “Quite so.” “Was the window open?” “Yes. you thought?” “Yes. He waved his hands. as far as you could see.

for I was weary after my night of adventure. So he sat as I dropped off to sleep. It was soon evident to me that he was now preparing for an all-night sitting. silent. He took off his coat and waistcoat. put on a large blue dressing-gown. would go for days.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 174 “Had he ever showed any signs of having taken opium?” “Never.” “Thank you. and so he sat when a sudden ejaculation caused me to wake up. Sherlock Holmes was a man. with the light shining upon his strong-set aquiline features. but nothing remained of the heap of Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . with an ounce of shag tobacco and a box of matches laid out in front of him. Clair. upon which he perched himself cross-legged. turning it over. his eyes fixed vacantly upon the corner of the ceiling. In the dim light of the lamp I saw him sitting there. for we may have a very busy day tomorrow. the smoke still curled upward. however. and I was quickly between the sheets. who. Mrs. and even for a week. an old briar pipe between his lips. Those are the principal points about which I wished to be absolutely clear. St. and the room was full of a dense tobacco haze. motionless. the blue smoke curling up from him. The pipe was still between his lips.” A large and comfortable double-bedded room had been placed at our disposal. without rest. With these he constructed a sort of Eastern divan. rearranging his facts. looking at it from every point of view until he had either fathomed it or convinced himself that his data were insufficient. when he had an unsolved problem upon his mind. We shall now have a little supper and then retire. and I found the summer sun shining into the apartment. and then wandered about the room collecting pillows from his bed and cushions from the sofa and armchairs.

As I dressed I glanced at my watch. but the lines of villas on either side were as silent and Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “Yes. and we shall soon have the trap out. and I have taken it out.” said he. and out into the bright morning sunshine. and he seemed a different man to the sombre thinker of the previous night. “I think.” We made our way downstairs as quietly as possible.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 175 shag which I had seen upon the previous night. We both sprang in. It was no wonder that no one was stirring. smiling. Watson?” he asked. with the half-clad stable-boy waiting at the head.” “Then dress. yes. and away we dashed down the London Road. but I know where the stable-boy sleeps. In the road stood our horse and trap. “I want to test a little theory of mine. pulling on his boots. “Oh. seeing my look of incredulity. I had hardly finished when Holmes returned with the news that the boy was putting in the horse.” he answered. But I think I have the key of the affair now. my boy. and we shall see whether it will not fit the lock. Come on.” he continued.” “And where is it?” I asked. I deserve to be kicked from here to Charing Cross. I am not joking. his eyes twinkled. It was twenty-five minutes past four. Watson. “In the bathroom.” He chuckled to himself as he spoke.” “Game for a morning drive?” “Certainly. A few country carts were stirring. No one is stirring yet. “I have just been there. that you are now standing in the presence of one of the most absolute fools in Europe. bearing in vegetables to the metropolis. “Awake. and I have got it in this Gladstone bag.

and the two constables at the door saluted him. sir.” “Certainly.” “Is he quiet?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Passing down the Waterloo Bridge Road we crossed over the river. He was brought up and remanded for further inquiries. and a telephone projecting from the wall. You have him here?” “In the cells. Mr.” “Ah. “I confess that I have been as blind as a mole.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 176 lifeless as some city in a dream. how are you?” A tall. Mr. “What can I do for you. “It has been in some points a singular case. with a huge ledger upon the table. in a peaked cap and frogged jacket. Holmes?” “I called about that beggarman. flicking the horse on into a gallop. Boone—the one who was charged with being concerned in the disappearance of Mr. Bradstreet. The inspector sat down at his desk. “Inspector Bradstreet. Bradstreet. Step into my room here. office-like room. of Lee. Clair.” It was a small. stout official had come down the stone-flagged passage.” “So I heard. and dashing up Wellington Street wheeled sharply to the right and found ourselves in Bow Street.” “Yes.” said Holmes. Sherlock Holmes was well known to the force. One of them held the horse’s head while the other led us in. but it is better to learn wisdom late than never to learn it at all.” In town the earliest risers were just beginning to look sleepily from their windows as we drove through the streets of the Surrey side. “Who is on duty?” asked Holmes. “I wish to have a quiet word with you. Neville St. Holmes.

” “I should like to see him very much. with a coloured shirt protruding through the rent in his tattered coat. Come this way. you would agree with me that he needed it. passed down a winding stair. But he is a dirty scoundrel. and brought us to a whitewashed corridor with a line of doors on each side. it is all we can do to make him wash his hands. as the inspector had said.” said he. if you saw him. “You can see him very well.” We both put our eyes to the grating. in a very deep sleep. when once his case has been settled. and I think.” “Dirty?” “Yes. he gives no trouble. so that three teeth were exposed in a perpetual snarl. but the grime which covered his face could not conceal its repulsive ugliness. I think that I’ll take it. “Here it is!” He quietly shot back a panel in the upper part of the door and glanced through. The prisoner lay with his face towards us.” said the inspector. A shock of very bright red hair grew low over his eyes and forehead. breathing slowly and heavily. if you please.” “No.” He led us down a passage.” “Would you? That is easily done. opened a barred door. He was. You can leave your bag. Well.” “Very good. Come this way.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 177 “Oh. A broad wheal from an old scar ran right across it from eye to chin. and by its contraction had turned up one side of the upper lip. “He is asleep. he will have a regular prison bath. “The third on the right is his. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and his face is as black as a tinker’s. extremely dirty. He was a middle-sized man. coarsely clad as became his calling.

and then rubbed it twice vigorously across and down the prisoner’s face. “it is. sad-faced. “He doesn’t look a credit to the Bow Street cells. sitting up in his bed. and I took the liberty of bringing the tools with me. and we all very quietly entered the cell. The man’s face peeled off under the sponge like the bark from a tree. Neville St.” remarked Holmes. Gone was the coarse brown tint! Gone.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 178 “He’s a beauty. “He! he! You are a funny one. “Now. refined-looking man. and there. rubbing his eyes and staring about him with sleepy bewilderment. to my astonishment. too. if you will have the great goodness to open that door very quietly. “He certainly needs a wash. “to Mr. Holmes stooped to the waterjug. he broke into a scream and threw himself down with his face to the pillow. “Let me introduce you. of Lee. I know him from the photograph. and the twisted lip which had given the repulsive sneer to the face! A twitch brought away the tangled red hair. was the horrid scar which had seamed it across. The sleeper half turned. the missing man. moistened his sponge.” “Well. was a pale. we will soon make him cut a much more respectable figure. I don’t know why not.” said the inspector. “I had an idea that he might. “Great heavens!” cried the inspector. in the county of Kent.” chuckled the inspector. and then settled down once more into a deep slumber. indeed.” he shouted. isn’t he?” said the inspector.” Never in my life have I seen such a sight.” He opened the Gladstone bag as he spoke. a very large bath-sponge. Then suddenly realizing the exposure. does he?” He slipped his key into the lock. black-haired and smooth-skinned. and took out. Clair.

” “God bless you!” cried the prisoner passionately. come. but a very great error has been committed. then it is obvious that no crime has been committed. The case would then never go into court at all. “You would have done better to have trusted you wife.” “No crime.” “If I am Mr. I am sure. “God help me.” said Holmes. Neville St. My God! What an exposure! What can I do?” Sherlock Holmes sat down beside him on the couch and patted him kindly on the shoulder. On the other hand. “And pray what am I charged with?” “With making away with Mr. even execution. “If you leave it to a court of law to clear the matter up. took to the stage.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 179 The prisoner turned with the reckless air of a man who abandons himself to his destiny. ay. “You are the first who have ever heard my story. therefore. I would not have them ashamed of their father. “I would have endured imprisonment.” said he. make notes upon anything which you might tell us and submit it to the proper authorities. Neville St. you can’t be charged with that unless they make a case of attempted suicide of it. it was the children.” groaned the prisoner. I am illegally detained. I travelled in my youth. but this really takes the cake. I have been twentyseven years in the force. and that. My father was a school-master in Chesterfield. where I received an excellent education. “Be it so.” said he. “of course you can hardly avoid publicity. Inspector Bradstreet would. rather than have left my miserable secret as a family blot to my children. I do not know that there is any reason that the details should find their way into the papers. if you convince the police authorities that there is no possible case against you.— Oh.” said the inspector with a grin. Clair.” “It was not the wife. “Well. and finally Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .

but a sudden idea came to me. I backed a bill for a friend and had a writ served upon me for 25 pounds. I begged a fortnight’s grace from the creditor. some time later. One day my editor wished to have a series of articles upon begging in the metropolis. For seven hours I plied my trade. and I threw up reporting and sat day after day in the corner which I had first chosen. and sitting still. asked for a holiday from my employers. inspiring pity by my ghastly face and filling my pockets Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I painted my face. Then with a red head of hair. learned all the secrets of making up. and spent the time in begging in the City under my disguise. and an appropriate dress. of course. “I wrote my articles and thought little more of the matter until. I took my station in the business part of the city. “Well. ostensibly as a match-seller but really as a beggar. and when I returned home in the evening I found to my surprise that I had received no less than 26s. you can imagine how hard it was to settle down to arduous work at 2 pounds a week when I knew that I could earn as much in a day by smearing my face with a little paint. It was a long fight between my pride and the money. but the dollars won at last. and I volunteered to supply them. and to make myself as pitiable as possible I made a good scar and fixed one side of my lip in a twist by the aid of a small slip of flesh-coloured plaster. I took advantage now of my attainments. When an actor I had. It was only by trying begging as an amateur that I could get the facts upon which to base my articles. In ten days I had the money and had paid the debt. laying my cap on the ground. 4d.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 180 became a reporter on an evening paper in London. and had been famous in the greenroom for my skill. I was at my wit’s end where to get the money. There was the point from which all my adventures started.

varied by silver. pulled on those of a beggar. and that the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . very soon I found that I was saving considerable sums of money. She little knew what. My dear wife knew that I had business in the City. and put on my pigments and wig. a Lascar. so that I knew that my secret was safe in his possession. entreated him to prevent anyone from coming up to me. I do not mean that any beggar in the streets of London could earn 700 pounds a year—which is less than my average takings—but I had exceptional advantages in my power of making up. the Lascar. and it was a very bad day in which I failed to take 2 pounds. Only one man knew my secret. and also in a facility of repartee. I heard her voice downstairs. and eventually married. without anyone having a suspicion as to my real occupation. was well paid by me for his rooms. took a house in the country.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 181 with coppers. which improved by practice and made me quite a recognized character in the City. that my wife was standing in the street. “Last Monday I had finished for the day and was dressing in my room above the opium den when I looked out of my window and saw. where I could every morning emerge as a squalid beggar and in the evenings transform myself into a well-dressed man about town. threw up my arms to cover my face. “As I grew richer I grew more ambitious. I gave a cry of surprise. “Well. but I knew that she could not ascend. But then it occurred to me that there might be a search in the room. rushing to my confidant. He was the keeper of a low den in which I used to lodge in Swandam Lane. All day a stream of pennies. poured in upon me. This fellow. and. to my horror and astonishment. Even a wife’s eyes could not pierce so complete a disguise. with her eyes fixed full upon me. Swiftly I threw off my clothes.

but at that moment there was a rush of constables up the stair. I was determined to preserve my disguise as long as possible. But have you never been prosecuted for begging?” “Many times. “If the police are to hush this thing up. there must be no more of Hugh Boone. to my relief. I hurled it out of the window.” “That note only reached her yesterday.” said Bradstreet. but what was a fine to me?” “It must stop here.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Knowing that my wife would be terribly anxious. I was arrested as his murderer. Neville St. and it disappeared into the Thames. I threw open the window. and hence my preference for a dirty face. I slipped off my ring and confided it to the Lascar at a moment when no constable was watching me. together with a hurried scrawl.” said Inspector Bradstreet. and a few minutes after I found. Clair. “I do not know that there is anything else for me to explain. “I have no doubt of it. nodding approvingly. rather. however. Probably he handed it to some sailor customer of his. telling her that she had no cause to fear. “and I can quite understand that he might find it difficult to post a letter unobserved. The other clothes would have followed. who forgot all about it for some days. reopening by my violence a small cut which I had inflicted upon myself in the bedroom that morning. which was weighted by the coppers which I had just transferred to it from the leather bag in which I carried my takings. I confess.” “That was it.” “I have sworn it by the most solemn oaths which a man can take. that instead of being identified as Mr. Then I seized my coat.” said Holmes. “Good God! What a week she must have spent!” “The police have watched this Lascar.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 182 clothes might betray me.” said Holmes.

” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 183 “In that case I think that it is probable that no further steps may be taken. Holmes. “by sitting upon five pillows and consuming an ounce of shag.” “I reached this one. that if we drive to Baker Street we shall just be in time for breakfast. then all must come out. But if you are found again. I am sure.” said my friend. I think. that we are very much indebted to you for having cleared the matter up. I wish I knew how you reach your results. Mr. Watson.

and on the angle of the back hung a very seedy and disreputable hard-felt hat. THE ADVENTURE OF THE BLUE CARBUNCLE had called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes upon the second morning after Christmas.” I seated myself in his armchair and warmed my hands before his crackling fire. The matter is a perfectly trivial one”—he jerked his thumb in the direction of the old hat—“but there are points in connection with it which are not entirely devoid of interest and even of instruction. Beside the couch was a wooden chair. a pipe-rack within his reach upon the right. I am glad to have a friend with whom I can discuss my results. near at hand. “perhaps I interrupt you. for a sharp frost had set in. this thing has some deadly story linked on to it—that it is the clew which will guide you in the solution of some mystery and the punishment of some crime. much the worse for wear.” I remarked. “I suppose. evidently newly studied. no.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 184 Adventure VII. laughing. “that. and cracked in several places.” “No. “You are engaged. and a pile of crumpled morning papers.” said Sherlock Holmes. with the intention of wishing him the compliments of the season. He was lounging upon the sofa in a purple dressing-gown. and the windows were thick with the ice crystals. “Only one of those whimsical little incidents which will happen when you I Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “Not at all.” said I. A lens and a forceps lying upon the seat of the chair suggested that the hat had been suspended in this manner for the purpose of examination. homely as it looks. No crime.

I have no doubt. and to the adventure of the man with the twisted lip. I have no doubt that this small matter will fall into the same innocent category. walking with a slight stagger.” l remarked. You know Peterson. Amid the action and reaction of so dense a swarm of humanity. “that of the last six cases which I have added to my notes. and carrying a white goose slung over his shoulder. who. It arrived upon Christmas morning. a row broke out between this stranger and a little Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . In front of him he saw. first. which is. You allude to my attempt to recover the Irene Adler papers. as to how it came here. he found it. was returning from some small jollification and was making his way homeward down Tottenham Court Road. The facts are these: about four o’clock on Christmas morning. We have already had experience of such. a tallish man. is a very honest fellow. and many a little problem will be presented which may be striking and bizarre without being criminal. And. as you know. As he reached the corner of Goodge Street. three have been entirely free of any legal crime.” “Precisely. no. Peterson.” “It is his hat.” “No. I beg that you will look upon it not as a battered billycock but as an intellectual problem. Well. the commissionaire?” “Yes. in the gaslight.” “So much so.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 185 have four million human beings all jostling each other within the space of a few square miles. roasting at this moment in front of Peterson’s fire.” “It is to him that this trophy belongs. in company with a good fat goose. to the singular case of Miss Mary Sutherland. Its owner is unknown. every possible combination of events may be expected to take place.

so that he was left in possession of the field of battle. B. there lies the problem.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 186 knot of roughs. Henry Baker’ was printed upon a small card which was tied to the bird’s left leg.’ are legible upon the lining of this hat. and some hundreds of Henry Bakers in this city of ours.” “Which surely he restored to their owner?” “My dear fellow. on which he raised his stick to defend himself and. smashed the shop window behind him. and also of the spoils of victory in the shape of this battered hat and a most unimpeachable Christmas goose. it would be well that it should be eaten without unnecessary delay. and seeing an officiallooking person in uniform rushing towards him. but as there are some thousands of Bakers. Its finder has carried it off. but the man. to fulfil the ultimate destiny of a goose. shocked at having broken the window. when there were signs that. The goose we retained until this morning. did Peterson do?” “He brought round both hat and goose to me on Christmas morning.” “What. It is true that ‘For Mrs. and it is also true that the initials ‘H. therefore. and vanished amid the labyrinth of small streets which lie at the back of Tottenham Court Road.” “Did he not advertise?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . dropped his goose. One of the latter knocked off the man’s hat. it is not easy to restore lost property to any one of them. The roughs had also fled at the appearance of Peterson. then. in spite of the slight frost. while I continue to retain the hat of the unknown gentleman who lost his Christmas dinner. knowing that even the smallest problems are of interest to me. took to his heels. Peterson had rushed forward to protect the stranger from his assailants. swinging it over his head.

and a few others Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . There was no maker’s name. however. to reason from what you see. hard and much the worse for wear.” said I.” “Then. It was pierced in the brim for a hat-securer. handing it back to my friend. “It is perhaps less suggestive than it might have been.” “But you are joking.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 187 “No. “I can see nothing.” were scrawled upon one side. but. “On the contrary. You are too timid in drawing your inferences. The lining had been of red silk. although there seemed to have been some attempt to hide the discoloured patches by smearing them with ink. and spotted in several places. B. Watson. but was a good deal discoloured. but the elastic was missing. pray tell me what it is that you can infer from this hat?” He picked it up and gazed at it in the peculiar introspective fashion which was characteristic of him. it was cracked.” “From his hat?” “Precisely. what clew could you have as to his identity?” “Only as much as we can deduce. the initials “H.” he remarked. What can you gather yourself as to the individuality of the man who has worn this article?” I took the tattered object in my hands and turned it over rather ruefully. What can you gather from this old battered felt?” “Here is my lens. exceedingly dusty. as Holmes had remarked. It was a very ordinary black hat of the usual round shape. You know my methods. You fail. For the rest. “and yet there are a few inferences which are very distinct.” “Then. you can see everything.

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 188 which represent at least a strong balance of probability. and also that he was fairly well-to-do within the last three years. you are unable to see how they are attained?” “I have no doubt that I am very stupid. That the man was highly intellectual is of course obvious upon the face of it. although he has now fallen upon evil days. when taken with the decline of his fortunes.” “The decline of his fortunes. goes out little. when I give you these results. which. but I must confess that I am unable to follow you. “a man with so large a brain must have something in it. This may account also for the obvious fact that his wife has ceased to love him. Is it possible that even now. seems to indicate some evil influence.” he continued. at work upon him.” “You are certainly joking. but has less now than formerly. probably drink. then?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “Not in the least. “He is a man who leads a sedentary life. It came right over the forehead and settled upon the bridge of his nose. “It is a question of cubic capacity. retained some degree of self-respect. For example. Holmes. and which he anoints with lime-cream. Also. that it is extremely improbable that he has gas laid on in his house. however. disregarding my remonstrance.” said he. pointing to a moral retrogression. has grizzled hair which he has had cut within the last few days. is out of training entirely. how did you deduce that this man was intellectual?” For answer Holmes clapped the hat upon his head. He had foresight. These are the more patent facts which are to be deduced from his hat. is middle-aged. by the way.” “My dear Holmes!” “He has.

and there is a distinct odour of lime-cream. If this man could afford to buy so expensive a hat three years ago. he has endeavoured to conceal some of these stains upon the felt by daubing them with ink. then he has assuredly gone down in the world. showing that it has been hung up indoors most of the time. it is obvious that he has less foresight now than formerly.” “Your reasoning is certainly plausible. and Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and that he uses limecream. This dust. since he went out of his way to take this precaution against the wind. are all to be gathered from a close examination of the lower part of the lining. They all appear to be adhesive. that it has been recently cut. that is clear enough. On the other hand.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 189 “This hat is three years old. Look at the band of ribbed silk and the excellent lining. is not the gritty.” said he putting his finger upon the little disc and loop of the hat-securer. it is a sign of a certain amount of foresight. which is a sign that he has not entirely lost his self-respect. If this man ordered one. “Here is the foresight. It is a hat of the very best quality. These flat brims curled at the edge came in then. The lens discloses a large number of hair-ends. “They are never sold upon hats.” “The further points.” “Well. you will observe. But since we see that he has broken the elastic and has not troubled to replace it. that his hair is grizzled. and has had no hat since. which is a distinct proof of a weakening nature. clean cut by the scissors of the barber. But how about the foresight and the moral retrogression?” Sherlock Holmes laughed. grey dust of the street but the fluffy brown dust of the house. certainly. while the marks of moisture upon the inside are proof positive that the wearer perspired very freely. that he is middle-aged.

when the door flew open. But how on earth do you deduce that the gas is not laid on in his house?” “One tallow stain. he never got tallow-stains from a gas-jet. “but since.” “This hat has not been brushed for weeks. Mr. Are you satisfied?” “Well. the commissionaire. When I see you. laughing. I think that there can be little doubt that the individual must be brought into frequent contact with burning tallow—walks upstairs at night probably with his hat in one hand and a guttering candle in the other. my dear Watson. or even two.” said I. but when I see no less than five.” “But he might be a bachelor.” “Nay. Anyhow. then? Has it returned to life and flapped off through the kitchen window?” Holmes twisted himself round Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “You have an answer to everything. with a week’s accumulation of dust upon your hat. he was bringing home the goose as a peace-offering to his wife. all this seems to be rather a waste of energy. “The goose. and Peterson. might come by chance. it is very ingenious.” Sherlock Holmes had opened his mouth to reply. Holmes! The goose. rushed into the apartment with flushed cheeks and the face of a man who is dazed with astonishment. there has been no crime committed. and no harm done save the loss of a goose. sir!” he gasped. Remember the card upon the bird’s leg.” “But his wife—you said that she had ceased to love him. “Eh? What of it.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 190 could therefore. and when your wife allows you to go out in such a state. I shall fear that you also have been unfortunate enough to lose your wife’s affection. hardly be in the best of training. as you said just now.

a plumber.” “It’s more than a precious stone. It cuts into glass as though it were putty.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 191 upon the sofa to get a fairer view of the man’s excited face. seeing that I have read the advertisement about it in The Times every day lately. on December 22d.” “It was lost. I ought to know its size and shape. “Precisely so. It is the precious stone. John Horner. Sherlock Holmes sat up with a whistle. just five days ago. and I have reason to know that there are sentimental considerations in the background which would induce the Countess to part with half her fortune if she could but recover the gem. at the Hotel Cosmopolitan. sir? A precious stone. It is absolutely unique. “That is the reward. “By Jove. Peterson!” said he.” “Not the Countess of Morcar’s blue carbuncle!” I ejaculated. but the reward offered of 1000 pounds is certainly not within a twentieth part of the market price.” “A thousand pounds! Great Lord of mercy!” The commissionaire plumped down into a chair and stared from one to the other of us. “See here. sir! See what my wife found in its crop!” He held out his hand and displayed upon the centre of the palm a brilliantly scintillating blue stone. if I remember aright. was accused of having abstracted it from the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . rather smaller than a bean in size. and its value can only be conjectured.” I remarked. “Precisely so. I suppose you know what you have got?” “A diamond. “this is treasure trove indeed. but of such purity and radiance that it twinkled like an electric point in the dark hollow of his hand.

glancing over the dates. I believe. but referred it to the Assizes. upperattendant at the hotel. Catherine Cusack. and read the following paragraph: “Hotel Cosmopolitan Jewel Robbery. that the bureau had been forced open. and to having rushed into the room. where she found matters as described by the last witness. maid to the Countess. he found that Horner had disappeared. deposed to having heard Ryder’s cry of dismay on discovering the robbery. Evidence of a previous conviction for robbery having been given against the prisoner. and Horner was arrested the same evening. plumber. gave evidence as to the arrest of Horner. which was loose. but had finally been called away. as it afterwards transpired. and protested his innocence in the strongest terms. abstracted from the jewel-case of the Countess of Morcar the valuable gem known as the blue carbuncle. who had shown Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . who struggled frantically. the magistrate refused to deal summarily with the offence. He had remained with Horner some little time. and that the small morocco casket in which. John Horner. until at last he smoothed one out. Horner. 26. was brought up upon the charge of having upon the 22d inst. B division. James Ryder.” He rummaged amid his newspapers. Ryder instantly gave the alarm. was lying empty upon the dressing-table. I have some account of the matter here.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 192 lady’s jewel-case. The evidence against him was so strong that the case has been referred to the Assizes.. doubled it over. On returning. the Countess was accustomed to keep her jewel. Inspector Bradstreet. but the stone could not be found either upon his person or in his rooms. gave his evidence to the effect that he had shown Horner up to the dressing-room of the Countess of Morcar upon the day of the robbery in order that he might solder the second bar of the grate.

the gentleman with the bad hat and all the other characteristics with which I have bored you. fainted away at the conclusion and was carried out of court. again. Here is the stone. the introduction of his name will cause him to see it. the stone came from the goose. Baker Street. the loss was a heavy one. tossing aside the paper. Watson. I shall have recourse to other methods. To do this. for everyone who knows him will direct his attention Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “What will you say?” “Give me a pencil and that slip of paper.’ That is clear and concise. But will he see it?” “Well. Henry Baker can have the same by applying at 6:30 this evening at 221B. “The question for us now to solve is the sequence of events leading from a rifled jewel-case at one end to the crop of a goose in Tottenham Court Road at the other. he is sure to keep an eye on the papers. Then. our little deductions have suddenly assumed a much more important and less innocent aspect. but since then he must have bitterly regretted the impulse which caused him to drop his bird. to a poor man. He was clearly so scared by his mischance in breaking the window and by the approach of Peterson that he thought of nothing but flight. we must try the simplest means first. Mr. then: ‘Found at the corner of Goodge Street. If this fail. You see.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 193 signs of intense emotion during the proceedings. a goose and a black felt hat. and these lie undoubtedly in an advertisement in all the evening papers.” “Very. Now. and the goose came from Mr. since. “Hum! So much for the police-court.” said Holmes thoughtfully. Henry Baker. So now we must set ourselves very seriously to finding this gentleman and ascertaining what part he has played in this little mystery.

Thank you. for we must have one to give to this gentleman in place of the one which your family is now devouring. just buy a goose on your way back and leave it here with me.” “Well. a suicide. Echo. Peterson. a vitriol-throwing.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 194 to it.” “Do you think that this man Horner is innocent?” “I cannot tell. In spite of its youth. in the Globe. Every good stone is. save that it is blue in shade instead of ruby red. I say. They are the devil’s pet baits. run down to the advertising agency and have this put in the evening papers. sir?” “Oh. “Just see how it glints and sparkles. Henry Baker. yes. had anything to do with the matter?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Evening News Standard. Who would think that so pretty a toy would be a purveyor to the gallows and the prison? I’ll lock it up in my strong box now and drop a line to the Countess to say that we have it.” When the commissionaire had gone. There have been two murders. do you imagine that this other one. “It’s a bonny thing. It was found in the banks of the Amoy River in southern China and is remarkable in having every characteristic of the carbuncle. it has already a sinister history. I shall keep the stone. sir.” “In which. And.” “Very well. Of course it is a nucleus and focus of crime. Pall Mall. Holmes took up the stone and held it against the light. Here you are. and several robberies brought about for the sake of this forty-grain weight of crystallized charcoal. James’s. This stone is not yet twenty years old. And this stone?” “Ah. then. St. In the larger and older jewels every facet may stand for a bloody deed. Star. and any others that occur to you.” said he. Peterson.

sir. who had no idea that the bird which he was carrying was of considerably more value than if it were made of solid gold. in view of recent occurrences. Hudson to examine its crop. much more likely that Henry Baker is an absolutely innocent man. sloping down to a pointed beard of Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I believe. I dine at seven.” “Very glad to see you.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 195 “It is. and it was a little after half-past six when I found myself in Baker Street once more. By the way.” said he. Just as l arrived the door was opened. intelligent face. Henry Baker. rising from his armchair and greeting his visitor with the easy air of geniality which he could so readily assume. Baker?” “Yes.” “In that case I shall continue my professional round. Watson. But I shall come back in the evening at the hour you have mentioned. Mr. It is a cold night. I believe. Is that your hat. Baker. “Mr. As I approached the house I saw a tall man in a Scotch bonnet with a coat which was buttoned up to his chin waiting outside in the bright semicircle which was thrown from the fanlight. Ah. and a broad. and we were shown up together to Holmes’s room. and I observe that your circulation is more adapted for summer than for winter. I think. you have just come at the right time. however. a massive head.” He was a large man with rounded shoulders. There is a woodcock.” “And you can do nothing until then?” “Nothing. that is undoubtedly my hat. That. perhaps I ought to ask Mrs. “Pray take this chair by the fire. Mr.” I had been delayed at a case. I shall determine by a very simple test if we have an answer to our advertisement. for I should like to see the solution of so tangled a business.

“because we expected to see an advertisement from you giving your address. we were compelled to eat it. His rusty black frock-coat was buttoned right up in front.” “Very naturally. which is about the same weight and perfectly fresh.” he remarked. and gave the impression generally of a man of learning and letters who had had ill-usage at the hands of fortune. about the bird. He spoke in a slow staccato fashion. certainly. “We have retained these things for some days.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 196 grizzled brown. with the collar turned up. certainly. By the way. will answer your purpose equally well?” “Oh. choosing his words with care. Baker with a sigh of relief. I did not care to spend more money in a hopeless attempt at recovering them. “I had no doubt that the gang of roughs who assaulted me had carried off both my hat and the bird. A touch of red in nose and cheeks. “Yes.” Our visitor gave a rather shamefaced laugh.” answered Mr. it would have been of no use to anyone had we not done so. crop.” said Holmes. we still have the feathers. But I presume that this other goose upon the sideboard. with a slight tremor of his extended hand. legs. and his lank wrists protruded from his sleeves without a sign of cuff or shirt.” “To eat it!” Our visitor half rose from his chair in his excitement. so if you wish—” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “Of course. and so on of your own bird. I am at a loss to know now why you did not advertise. recalled Holmes’s surmise as to his habits. “Shillings have not been so plentiful with me as they once were.

sir. instituted a goose club. “It is quite certain that he knows nothing whatever about the matter.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” said Baker. Windigate by name. “They might be useful to me as relics of my adventure. who had risen and tucked his newly gained property under his arm. I think that. Watson?” “Not particularly. then. I am much indebted to you. near the Museum—we are to be found in the Museum itself during the day.” Sherlock Holmes glanced sharply across at me with a slight shrug of his shoulders. and there your bird. This year our good host. No. “So much for Mr. sir. we were each to receive a bird at Christmas. “but beyond that I can hardly see what use the disjecta membra of my late acquaintance are going to be to me. Are you hungry. for a Scotch bonnet is fitted neither to my years nor my gravity. “By the way.” said Holmes when he had closed the door behind him. by which. “There are a few of us who frequent the Alpha Inn.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 197 The man burst into a hearty laugh. you understand. would it bore you to tell me where you got the other one from? I am somewhat of a fowl fancier.” said he. on consideration of some few pence every week. My pence were duly paid.” said he. “There is your hat. and the rest is familiar to you. sir.” With a comical pomposity of manner he bowed solemnly to both of us and strode off upon his way. I will confine my attentions to the excellent bird which I perceive upon the sideboard. with your permission.” “Then I suggest that we turn our dinner into a supper and follow up this clew while it is still hot. Henry Baker. and I have seldom seen a better grown goose.” “Certainly.

I see. But you see. them’s not our geese. “My geese!” The man seemed surprised. “Yes. then?” “Well.” “Indeed! Whose.” “Indeed? I know some of them. so we drew on our ulsters and wrapped cravats about our throats. the stars were shining coldly in a cloudless sky. and the breath of the passers-by blew out into smoke like so many pistol shots. I got the two dozen from a salesman in Covent Garden. who was a member of your goose club. Good-night.” he continued. “Remember.” It was a bitter night. sir. Holmes pushed open the door of the private bar and ordered two glasses of beer from the ruddyfaced.” “Ah! yes.” said he. here’s your good health landlord. “Your beer should be excellent if it is as good as your geese. Watson that though we have so homely a thing as a goose at one end of this chain. Which was it?” “Breckinridge is his name. Breckinridge. and prosperity to your house.” “Ah! I don’t know him. It is Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 198 “By all means. which is a small public-house at the corner of one of the streets which runs down into Holborn. white-aproned landlord. I was speaking only half an hour ago to Mr. buttoning up his coat as we came out into the frosty air. Harley Street. and so through Wigmore Street into Oxford Street. Henry Baker. “Now for Mr. we have at the other a man who will certainly get seven years’ penal servitude unless we can establish his innocence. Outside. Wimpole Street. Well. Our footfalls rang out crisply and loudly as we swung through the doctors’ quarter. In a quarter of an hour we were in Bloomsbury at the Alpha Inn.

down Endell Street. Now where did you get them from?” To my surprise the question provoked a burst of anger from the salesman. One of the largest stalls bore the name of Breckinridge upon it. I should like to know who sold you the geese which you supplied to the Alpha. I see. “what are you driving at? Let’s have it straight. “Good-evening.” “Fine birds they were. Let us follow it out to the bitter end. in any case. and the proprietor a horsy-looking man.” continued Holmes. and so through a zigzag of slums to Covent Garden Market. It’s a cold night. “Let you have five hundred to-morrow morning.” “That’s no good. “Now.” “It is straight enough. now.” “Ah. but I was recommended to you. mister. and which a singular chance has placed in our hands. with his head cocked and his arms akimbo. then. with a sharp face and trim side-whiskers was helping a boy to put up the shutters.” said Holmes.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . we have a line of investigation which has been missed by the police.” “Oh. there are some on the stall with the gas-flare. Faces to the south. The salesman nodded and shot a questioning glance at my companion. then. “Sold out of geese. yes.” “Well. and quick march!” We passed across Holborn.” said he. I sent him a couple of dozen. too.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 199 possible that our inquiry may but confirm his guilt but. pointing at the bare slabs of marble.” “Who by?” “The landlord of the Alpha.

you’ve lost your fiver. and I have a fiver on it that the bird I ate is country bred. that is all. maybe.” “Will you bet. then?” “It’s merely taking your money. Bill. for I know that I am right.” “Warm! You’d be as warm. then. all those birds that went to the Alpha were town bred. to hear the fuss that is made over them. it is a matter of no importance. just to teach you not to be obstinate.” said he.” The salesman chuckled grimly. “It’s nothing of the kind. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “D’you think you know more about fowls than I. So now!” “Oh.” said Holmes carelessly.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 200 “Well then.” “I don’t believe it.” “I say it is. But I’m always ready to back my opinion on a matter of fowls. if you were as pestered as I am. who have handled them ever since I was a nipper? I tell you. I have no connection with any other people who have been making inquiries. But I’ll have a sovereign on with you.” “Well.” snapped the salesman. “Bring me the books. I shan’t tell you. When I pay good money for a good article there should be an end of the business. for it’s town bred. “If you won’t tell us the bet is off. but it’s ‘Where are the geese?’ and ‘Who did you sell the geese to?’ and ‘What will you take for the geese?’ One would think they were the only geese in the world. but I don’t know why you should be so warm over such a trifle.” “You’ll never persuade me to believe that.” “Well.

Just read it out to me. that is a list of my town suppliers. D’you see? Well. “When you see a man with whiskers of that cut and the ‘Pink ’un’ protruding out of his pocket. turning away with the air of a man whose disgust is too deep for words. laying them out together beneath the hanging lamp. You see this little book?” “Well?” “That’s the list of the folk from whom I buy. A few yards off he stopped under a lamp-post and laughed in the hearty.” “Now. Now turn that up in the ledger. There you are. Windigate of the Alpha.’” “Quite so. Brixton Road—249. Twenty-four geese at 7s. you can always draw him by a Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . 117. but before I finish you’ll find that there is still one left in my shop. what’s the last entry?” “‘December 22d. Now. “Here you are. then.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 201 The small boy brought round a small thin volume and a great greasy-backed one. And underneath?” “‘Sold to Mr. at 12s.” said the salesman. egg and poultry supplier. 117. “I thought that I was out of geese. then! You see this other page in red ink? Well. Oakshott.” “Mrs. then. Oakshott.” Holmes turned to the page indicated. and the numbers after their names are where their accounts are in the big ledger. Now. look at that third name. 6d. noiseless fashion which was peculiar to him.’” “What have you to say now?” Sherlock Holmes looked deeply chagrined. ‘Mrs.” read Holmes. “Now then. Brixton Road. here on this page are the country folk. He drew a sovereign from his pocket and threw it down upon the slab. Cocksure. Mr. “Quite so.

and the only point which remains to be determined is whether we should go on to this Mrs. I fancy. Turning round we saw a little rat-faced fellow standing in the centre of the circle of yellow light which was thrown by the swinging lamp. then. we are. but one of them was mine all the same. Oakshott for it. “I daresay that if I had put 100 pounds down in front of him.” said he. “Ha! this may save us a visit to Brixton Road. ask Mrs. “I’ve had enough of you and your geese. the salesman. you can ask the King of Proosia.” “She told me to ask you.” “Well. If you come pestering me any more with your silly talk I’ll set the dog at you. Well. Oakshott here and I’ll answer her.” whispered Holmes. It is clear from what that surly fellow said that there are others besides ourselves who are anxious about the matter. and I should—” His remarks were suddenly cut short by a loud hubbub which broke out from the stall which we had just left. Watson.” he shouted. “Come with me. Oakshott to-night. Get out of this!” He rushed fiercely forward. You bring Mrs. “I wish you were all at the devil together. while Breckinridge. or whether we should reserve it for to-morrow.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 202 bet. for all I care. “Well.” whined the little man. and we will see what is to be made of this Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and the inquirer flitted away into the darkness. that man would not have given me such complete information as was drawn from him by the idea that he was doing me on a wager. nearing the end of our quest. framed in the door of his stall. I’ve had enough of it. but what have you to do with it? Did I buy the geese off you?” “No. was shaking his fists fiercely at the cringing figure.

” The man hesitated for an instant. by him in turn to Mr. Oakshott. you are the very man whom I have longed to meet.” “You? Who are you? How could you know anything of the matter?” “My name is Sherlock Holmes. “In that case we had better discuss it in a cosy room rather than in this wind-swept market-place. “I can hardly explain to you how interested I am in this matter. “You will excuse me. of Brixton Road. “but I could not help overhearing the questions which you put to the salesman just now. “My name is John Robinson. Henry Baker is a member.” Sherlock Holmes hailed a four-wheeler which was passing. Windigate. I think that I could be of assistance to you. and I could see in the gas-light that every vestige of colour had been driven from his face. “But pray tell me. of which Mr.” said Holmes blandly. who it is that I have the pleasure of assisting. to a salesman named Breckinridge. “Who are you. I know everything of it. He sprang round. then? What do you want?” he asked in a quavering voice. of the Alpha. and by him to his club.” Striding through the scattered knots of people who lounged round the flaring stalls.” “Oh.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” said he.” “But you can know nothing of this?” “Excuse me. before we go farther. You are endeavouring to trace some geese which were sold by Mrs.” cried the little fellow with outstretched hands and quivering fingers. It is my business to know what other people don’t know.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 203 fellow. my companion speedily overtook the little man and touched him upon the shoulder. sir.

” “Precisely so. “No. then! You want to know what became of those geese?” “Yes. spoke of the nervous tension within him. It was one bird. of that goose.” “Or rather. I will just put on my slippers before we settle this little matter of yours.” said he. “my real name is James Ryder. Ryder.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 204 he answered with a sidelong glance. as one who is not sure whether he is on the verge of a windfall or of a catastrophe. sir. Now.” Ryder quivered with emotion. I fancy. and the claspings and unclaspings of his hands. “It is always awkward doing business with an alias. Nothing had been said during our drive. “Well then. “The fire looks very seasonable in this weather. You look cold. the real name.” A flush sprang to the white cheeks of the stranger. no. Then he stepped into the cab.” said Holmes sweetly. “Oh. I imagine in which you were interested—white. sir. but the high.” he cried. Pray take the basket-chair. Head attendant at the Hotel Cosmopolitan. “can you tell me where it went to?” “It came here. and I shall soon be able to tell you everything which you would wish to know.” The little man stood glancing from one to the other of us with half-frightened. half-hopeful eyes. Mr. Pray step into the cab. “Here we are!” said Holmes cheerily as we filed into the room. with a black bar across the tail. and in half an hour we were back in the sitting-room at Baker Street. thin breathing of our new companion.” “Here?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .

” said he in a crackling voice. Give him a dash of brandy. which shone out like a star. Ryder stood glaring with a drawn face. of this blue stone of the Countess of Morcar’s?” “It was Catherine Cusack who told me of it. the temptation of sudden wealth so easily acquired was too much for you. so there is little which you need tell me. Ryder. with a cold brilliant.” Our visitor staggered to his feet and clutched the mantelpiece with his right hand.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 205 “Yes. So! Now he looks a little more human. “Hold up. uncertain whether to claim or to disown it. but the brandy brought a tinge of colour into his cheeks. Ryder. but you were not very scrupulous in the means you used. and all the proofs which I could possibly need. to be sure!” For a moment he had staggered and nearly fallen.” said Holmes quietly. You had heard. It laid an egg after it was dead— the bonniest. “The game’s up. many-pointed radiance. I don’t wonder that you should take an interest in it. You knew that this man Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and a most remarkable bird it proved. I have it here in my museum. Watson. that little may as well be cleared up to make the case complete. What a shrimp it is. brightest little blue egg that ever was seen. Holmes unlocked his strong-box and held up the blue carbuncle. He’s not got blood enough to go in for felony with impunity. or you’ll be into the fire! Give him an arm back into his chair. “I have almost every link in my hands. Still. as it has been for better men before you. “I see—her ladyship’s waiting-maid. Well. man. Ryder. and he sat staring with frightened eyes at his accuser. It seems to me. that there is the making of a very pretty villain in you.

” “I will fly. for I did not know at what moment the police might not take it into their heads to search me and my room. Then. How came the stone into the goose. Mr. but you thought little enough of this poor Horner in the dock for a crime of which he knew nothing. then? You made some small job in my lady’s room—you and your confederate Cusack—and you managed that he should be the man sent for. Then the charge against him will break down. and I made for my sister’s Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “When Horner had been arrested. had been concerned in some such matter before. I never went wrong before! I never will again. You then—” Ryder threw himself down suddenly upon the rug and clutched at my companion’s knees. have mercy!” he shrieked.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 206 Horner. I’ll swear it on a Bible. for there lies your only hope of safety. it seemed to me that it would be best for me to get away with the stone at once. don’t bring it into court! For Christ’s sake. “It is very well to cringe and crawl now. I will leave the country. “Think of my father! of my mother! It would break their hearts. the plumber. There was no place about the hotel where it would be safe. and that suspicion would rest the more readily upon him. I swear it. don’t!” “Get back into your chair!” said Holmes sternly. “For God’s sake. you rifled the jewel-case. sir. What did you do. And now let us hear a true account of the next act. when he had left. “I will tell you it just as it happened. and had this unfortunate man arrested. I went out. raised the alarm. sir. Holmes. and how came the goose into the open market? Tell us the truth.” “Hum! We will talk about that. Oh.” Ryder passed his tongue over his parched lips. as if on some commission.” said he.

My sister asked me what was the matter. I Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 207 house. She had married a man named Oakshott. I was leaning against the wall at the time and looking at the geese which were waddling about round my feet. white. and behind this I drove one of the birds—a fine big one. I would take my goose now. but I told her that I had been upset by the jewel robbery at the hotel. and prying its bill open. and in it I would carry my stone to Kilburn. and take him into my confidence. and lived in Brixton Road. so I made up my mind to go right on to Kilburn. and why I was so pale. and. and suddenly an idea came into my head which showed me how I could beat the best detective that ever lived. “I had a friend once called Maudsley. But how to get to him in safety? I thought of the agonies I had gone through in coming from the hotel. One day he had met me. and I knew that she was always as good as her word. I might at any moment be seized and searched. I knew that he would be true to me. where she fattened fowls for the market. with a barred tail. and how they could get rid of what they stole. He would show me how to turn the stone into money. where he lived. Then I went into the back yard and smoked a pipe and wondered what it would be best to do. and has just been serving his time in Pentonville. who went to the bad. All the way there every man I met seemed to me to be a policeman or a detective. “My sister had told me some weeks before that I might have the pick of her geese for a Christmas present. and fell into talk about the ways of thieves. There was a little shed in the yard. for all that it was a cold night. and there would be the stone in my waistcoat pocket. I caught it. the sweat was pouring down my face before I came to the Brixton Road. for I knew one or two things about him.

“‘Whatever were you doing with that bird. I’ll have the other. and I was feeling which was the fattest.’ said I. ‘you said you’d give me one for Christmas. Mr.’ says I. ‘Which is it you want.’ “‘Oh.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 208 thrust the stone down its throat as far as my finger could reach. which makes one for you. very well.’ said she. He laughed until he choked. for there was no sign of the stone.’ “‘Oh. Holmes. I told my pal what I had done.’ “‘The other is a good three pound heavier. and I carried the bird all the way to Kilburn. and we got a knife and opened the goose. “‘Well. and one for us.’ “‘Thank you. It’s the big white one over yonder.’ said she. I did what she said. and two dozen for the market. and I felt the stone pass along its gullet and down into its crop. As I turned to speak to her the brute broke loose and fluttered off among the others. right in the middle of the flock. My heart turned to water. “‘Oh. we call it. and I knew that some terrible mistake had occurred. ‘we’ve set yours aside for you—Jem’s bird. I left the bird rushed back to my Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .’ “‘Never mind. ‘but if it is all the same to you. Jem?’ says she. But the creature flapped and struggled.’ said I. then?’ “‘That white one with the barred tail. and I’ll take it now. Kill it and take it with you.’ “Well. I’d rather have that one I was handling just now. and out came my sister to know what was the matter. just as you like. for he was a man that it was easy to tell a thing like that to. Maggie. There’s twenty-six of them.’ says she. The bird gave a gulp. ‘and we fattened it expressly for you. a little huffed.

and hurried into the back yard. Then my friend rose and threw open the door. and I could never tell them apart. Get out!” And no more words were needed. he has always answered me like that. There was a rush.’ “‘Which dealer’s?’ “‘Breckinridge. And now—and now I am myself a branded thief. of course I saw it all. sir! Oh. then. ‘the same as the one I chose?’ “‘Yes. without ever having touched the wealth for which I sold my character. there were two barred-tailed ones. “‘Gone to the dealer’s. Sometimes I think that I am myself. There was a long silence. “Get out!” said he. the bang of a door. and the crisp rattle of running footfalls from the street. My sister thinks that I am going mad. and not one word would he tell me as to where they had gone.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 209 sister’s. Well. There was not a bird to be seen there. of Covent Garden. and I ran off as hard as my feet would carry me to this man Breckinridge. God help me! God help me!” He burst into convulsive sobbing. with his face buried in his hands. broken only by his heavy breathing and by the measured tapping of Sherlock Holmes’s finger-tips upon the edge of the table. “What. Maggie?’ I cried. but he had sold the lot at once. You heard him yourselves to-night.’ “Well. a clatter upon the stairs. Heaven bless you!” “No more words. Jem. “‘Where are they all. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Jem.’ “‘But was there another with a barred tail?’ I asked.

I suppose that I am commuting a felony.” said Holmes. “I am not retained by the police to supply their deficiencies. he is too terribly frightened. This fellow will not go wrong again. Send him to jail now. it is the season of forgiveness. Doctor. If you will have the goodness to touch the bell. but it is just possible that I am saving a soul. we will begin another investigation. but this fellow will not appear against him.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and you make him a jail-bird for life. Besides. also a bird will be the chief feature.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 210 “After all. Watson. reaching up his hand for his clay pipe. and its solution is its own reward. and the case must collapse. in which. Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem. If Horner were in danger it would be another thing.

by the side of my bed. and perhaps just a little Elecbook Classics Arthur Conan Doyle . but a promise of secrecy was made at the time. but none commonplace. I cannot recall any which presented more singular features than that which was associated with the well-known Surrey family of the Roylotts of Stoke Moran. fully dressed. however. It is perhaps as well that the facts should now come to light. for I have reasons to know that there are widespread rumours as to the death of Dr. and even the fantastic.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 211 Adventure VIII. some comic. THE ADVENTURE OF THE SPECKLED BAND O n glancing over my notes of the seventy odd cases in which I have during the last eight years studied the methods of my friend Sherlock Holmes. I find many tragic. from which I have only been freed during the last month by the untimely death of the lady to whom the pledge was given. a large number merely strange. He was a late riser. It was early in April in the year ‘83 that I woke one morning to find Sherlock Holmes standing. Grimesby Roylott which tend to make the matter even more terrible than the truth. It is possible that I might have placed them upon record before. working as he did rather for the love of his art than for the acquirement of wealth. I blinked up at him in some surprise. The events in question occurred in the early days of my association with Holmes. he refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual. as a rule. for. when we were sharing rooms as bachelors in Baker Street. Of all these varied cases. and as the clock on the mantelpiece showed me that it was only a quarter-past seven.

rose as we entered. Pray draw up to it. for I observe that you are shivering. as swift as intuitions. who had been sitting in the window.” “What is it. for I was myself regular in my habits. and yet always founded on a logical basis with which he unravelled the problems which were submitted to him.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . wish to follow it from the outset. A lady dressed in black and heavily veiled. Watson. Watson. she retorted upon me. a client. and I shall order you a cup of hot coffee. you would. “but it’s the common lot this morning. Hudson has had the good sense to light the fire. at any rate. Dr.” said he. Ha! I am glad to see that Mrs. and knock sleepy people up out of their beds.” said Holmes cheerily. Hudson has been knocked up. madam. that I should call you and give you the chance. She is waiting now in the sitting-room. when young ladies wander about the metropolis at this hour of the morning. and I on you. I thought. Should it prove to be an interesting case. Mrs. It seems that a young lady has arrived in a considerable state of excitement. and in admiring the rapid deductions. I would not miss it for anything. “Good-morning. I am sure. “Very sorry to knock you up. Now.” I had no keener pleasure than in following Holmes in his professional investigations. then—a fire?” “No. This is my intimate friend and associate. before whom you can speak as freely as before myself. “My name is Sherlock Holmes. I presume that it is something very pressing which they have to communicate. I rapidly threw on my clothes and was ready in a few minutes to accompany my friend down to the sitting-room.” “My dear fellow. who insists upon seeing me.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 212 resentment.

“We shall soon set matters right.” said the woman in a low voice. “There is no mystery. It is terror. allcomprehensive glances. changing her seat as requested. reached Leatherhead at twenty past.” “You know me. Sherlock Holmes ran her over with one of his quick. bending forward and patting her forearm. and then only when you sit on the left-hand side of the driver. “You must not fear. then?” “It is fear. I have no doubt. and came in by the first train to Waterloo. Sir.” The lady gave a violent start and stared in bewilderment at my companion. along heavy roads. like those of some hunted animal. and her expression was weary and haggard. and we could see that she was indeed in a pitiable state of agitation. You must have started early. but her hair was shot with premature grey. before you reached the station. Her features and figure were those of a woman of thirty. “The left arm of your jacket is spattered with mud in no less than seven places. I see.” said he. you are perfectly correct. I can Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . You have come in by train this morning. The marks are perfectly fresh.” She raised her veil as she spoke. “I started from home before six.” “Whatever your reasons may be.” said she.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 213 “lt is not cold which makes me shiver. There is no vehicle save a dog-cart which throws up mud in that way. with restless frightened eyes. smiling. “What. but I observe the second half of a return ticket in the palm of your left glove. Holmes. her face all drawn and grey. then?” “No. my dear madam. Mr. and yet you had a good drive in a dog-cart.” said he soothingly.

He does not say so.” said he. who cares for me. can be of little aid. Mr. drew out a small case-book. and at least throw a little light through the dense darkness which surrounds me? At present it is out of my power to reward you for your services. I think it was before your time. Farintosh. it was concerned with an opal tiara.” “Alas!” replied our visitor. do you not think that you could help me. whom you helped in the hour of her sore need. and my suspicions depend so entirely upon small points. but I can read it from his soothing answers and averted eyes. unlocking it. Watson. with the control of my own income. that you can see deeply into the manifold wickedness of the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . which might seem trivial to another. madam. but you are at liberty to defray whatever expenses I may be put to. But I have heard. that even he to whom of all others I have a right to look for help and advice looks upon all that I tell him about it as the fancies of a nervous woman. save only one. As to reward. I shall go mad if it continues. “the very horror of my situation lies in the fact that my fears are so vague. poor fellow. sir. at the time which suits you best. Oh. and he. which he consulted. too. I can only say. “Ah yes. Holmes.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 214 stand this strain no longer. I have no one to turn to—none. that I shall be happy to devote the same care to your case as I did to that of your friend. I have heard of you. It was from her that I had your address. I have heard of you from Mrs. And now I beg that you will lay before us everything that may help us in forming an opinion upon the matter.” Holmes turned to his desk and. Mr. and then at least you shall not find me ungrateful. Holmes. I recall the case. my profession is its own reward. “Farintosh. but in a month or six weeks I shall be married.

by his professional skill and his force of character. and the two-hundred-year-old house. obtained an advance from a relative. Mrs. my stepfather. which is itself crushed under a heavy mortgage. however. madam. however. and the estates extended over the borders into Berkshire in the north. “When Dr. Roylott was in India he married my mother. he established a large practice. seeing that he must adapt himself to the new conditions. Stoner. where. who is the last survivor of one of the oldest Saxon families in England. In the last century.” said he. You may advise me how to walk amid the dangers which encompass me. and I am living with my stepfather. he suffered a long term of imprisonment and afterwards returned to England a morose and disappointed man.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 215 human heart. four successive heirs were of a dissolute and wasteful disposition. and the family ruin was eventually completed by a gambler in the days of the Regency. caused by some robberies which had been perpetrated in the house.” “My name is Helen Stoner. My sister Julia and I were twins. As it was. “The family was at one time among the richest in England. Nothing was left save a few acres of ground.” “I am all attention. living the horrible life of an aristocratic pauper. “The name is familiar to me. on the western border of Surrey. and we were only two Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . which enabled him to take a medical degree and went out to Calcutta. In a fit of anger. The last squire dragged out his existence there. and Hampshire in the west. the Roylotts of Stoke Moran. but his only son. the young widow of Major-General Stoner.” Holmes nodded his head. he beat his native butler to death and narrowly escaped a capital sentence. of the Bengal Artillery.

been intensified by his long residence in the tropics. two of which ended in the policecourt. and it was only by paying over all the money which I could gather together that I was able to avert another public exposure. and the folks would fly at his approach. Roylott entirely while we resided with him. he shut himself up in his house and seldom came out save to indulge in ferocious quarrels with whoever might cross his path. I believe. Roylott then abandoned his attempts to establish himself in practice in London and took us to live with him in the old ancestral house at Stoke Moran. He had no friends at all save the wandering gypsies. and he would give these vagabonds leave to encamp upon the few acres of Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Dr. Shortly after our return to England my mother died—she was killed eight years ago in a railway accident near Crewe. The money which my mother had left was enough for all our wants. Instead of making friends and exchanging visits with our neighbours. and there seemed to be no obstacle to our happiness. “Last week he hurled the local blacksmith over a parapet into a stream. Violence of temper approaching to mania has been hereditary in the men of the family. “But a terrible change came over our stepfather about this time.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 216 years old at the time of my mother’s re-marriage. and absolutely uncontrollable in his anger. who had at first been overjoyed to see a Roylott of Stoke Moran back in the old family seat. with a provision that a certain annual sum should be allowed to each of us in the event of our marriage. for he is a man of immense strength. and in my stepfather’s case it had. until at last he became the terror of the village. A series of disgraceful brawls took place. She had a considerable sum of money—not less than 1000 pounds a year— and this she bequeathed to Dr.

and we were occasionally allowed to pay short visits at this lady’s house. and he has at this moment a cheetah and a baboon. the terrible event occurred which has deprived me of my only companion. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “Your sister is dead. but he half opened hls lids now and glanced across at his visitor. He has a passion also for Indian animals. to whom she became engaged. Miss Honoria Westphail.” Sherlock Holmes had been leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed and his head sunk in a cushion. even as mine has. then?” “She died just two years ago. and it is of her death that I wish to speak to you. we were little likely to see anyone of our own age and position.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 217 bramble-covered land which represent the family estate. which wander freely over his grounds and are feared by the villagers almost as much as their master. We had. an aunt.” said he. My stepfather learned of the engagement when my sister returned and offered no objection to the marriage. You can understand that. “Pray be precise as to details. She was but thirty at the time of her death. however. Julia went there at Christmas two years ago. and met there a half-pay major of marines. No servant would stay with us. “You can imagine from what I say that my poor sister Julia and I had no great pleasure in our lives. my mother’s maiden sister. and would accept in return the hospitality of their tents. and for a long time we did all the work of the house. who lives near Harrow. wandering away with them sometimes for weeks on end. living the life which I have described. and yet her hair had already begun to whiten. but within a fortnight of the day which had been fixed for the wedding. which are sent over to him by a correspondent.

though we knew that he had not retired to rest. ‘have you ever heard anyone whistle in the dead of the night?’ “‘Never. yourself. and only one wing is now inhabited.’ said she.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 218 “It is easy for me to be so. “‘Tell me. Roylott’s.’ “‘No.’ said I. for every event of that dreadful time is seared into my memory. There is no communication between them. the sitting-rooms being in the central block of the buildings. in your sleep?’ “‘Certainly not. very old. But why?’ “‘Because during the last few nights I have always. the second my sister’s. She left her room. heard a low.” “The windows of the three rooms open out upon the lawn. That fatal night Dr. The manor-house is. and the third my own. and came into mine. perhaps from the lawn. At eleven o’clock she rose to leave me. I cannot tell where it came from perhaps from the next room. chatting about her approaching wedding. as I have already said. but she paused at the door and looked back. about three in the morning. clear whistle. for my sister was troubled by the smell of the strong Indian cigars which it was his custom to smoke. therefore. I thought that I would just ask you whether you had heard it. Helen. It must be those wretched gypsies in the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I have not. The bedrooms in this wing are on the ground floor. where she sat for some time. “‘I suppose that you could not possibly whistle. Of these bedrooms the first is Dr. Roylott had gone to his room early. but they all open out into the same corridor. and it has awakened me. Do I make myself plain?” “Perfectly so. I am a light sleeper.

My sister and I. Suddenly.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 219 plantation.’ “‘Ah. The wind was howling outside.’ “‘Well. wrapped a shawl round me. not knowing what was about to issue from it. I knew that it was my sister’s voice. and you know how subtle are the links which bind two souls which are so closely allied. it is of no great consequence.” “And why?” “I think that I mentioned to you that the doctor kept a cheetah and a baboon. By the light of the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” said Holmes. amid all the hubbub of the gale. and a few moments later I heard her key turn in the lock. A vague feeling of impending misfortune impressed me. Pray proceed with your statement. my sister’s door was unlocked.’ “‘Very likely. closed my door. at any rate.” “Quite so. and the rain was beating and splashing against the windows. I wonder that you did not hear it also. As I opened my door I seemed to hear a low whistle.’ She smiled back at me. “Was it your custom always to lock yourselves in at night?” “Always. and revolved slowly upon its hinges. but I sleep more heavily than you. and a few moments later a clanging sound. As I ran down the passage. I stared at it horror-stricken. there burst forth the wild scream of a terrified woman.” “Indeed.” “I could not sleep that night. I sprang from my bed. as if a mass of metal had fallen. And yet if it were on the lawn. and rushed into the corridor. you will recollect. were twins. It was a wild night. We had no feeling of security unless our doors were locked. such as my sister described.

It is my strong impression that I heard it. “are you sure about this whistle and metallic sound? Could you swear to it?” “That was what the county coroner asked me at the inquiry. and she stabbed with her finger into the air in the direction of the doctor’s room. That is important. and her limbs were dreadfully convulsed. When he reached my sister’s side she was unconscious. In her right hand was found the charred stump of a match. I rushed out. She writhed as one who is in terrible pain. and yet. but as I bent over her she suddenly shrieked out in a voice which I shall never forget. and I met him hastening from his room in his dressing-gown. her whole figure swaying to and fro like that of a drunkard. she was in her night-dress.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 220 corridor-lamp I saw my sister appear at the opening. but at that moment her knees seemed to give way and she fell to the ground. I ran to her and threw my arms round her. for she slowly sank and died without having recovered her consciousness. Such was the dreadful end of my beloved sister. I may possibly have been deceived. among the crash of the gale and the creaking of an old house.” said Holmes. but a fresh convulsion seized her and choked her words. And what Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “Was your sister dressed?” “No.” “One moment. her face blanched with terror. At first I thought that she had not recognized me. and in her left a match-box. calling loudly for my stepfather. and though he poured brandy down her throat and sent for medical aid from the village. all efforts were in vain. my God! Helen! It was the band! The speckled band!’ There was something else which she would fain have said. ‘Oh. her hands groping for help.” “Showing that she had struck a light and looked about her when the alarm took place.

that my sister was quite alone when she met her end.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 221 conclusions did the coroner come to?” “He investigated the case with great care. sometimes that it may have referred to some band of people.” “How about poison?” “The doctors examined her for it. therefore. I do not know whether the spotted handkerchiefs which so many of them wear over their heads might have suggested the strange adjective which she used. My evidence showed that the door had been fastened upon the inner side. there are nearly always some there.” “Were there gypsies in the plantation at the time?” “Yes. Besides. there were no marks of any violence upon her. Roylott’s conduct had long been notorious in the county. perhaps to these very gypsies in the plantation. and were shown to be quite solid all round. then?” “It is my belief that she died of pure fear and nervous shock. but he was unable to find any satisfactory cause of death. but without success. The walls were carefully sounded. but is barred up by four large staples.” “What do you think that this unfortunate lady died of. which were secured every night. It is certain. though what it was that frightened her I cannot imagine. and the windows were blocked by old-fashioned shutters with broad iron bars. with the same result. The chimney is wide. for Dr.” Holmes shook his head like a man who is far from being satisfied.” “Ah. and what did you gather from this allusion to a band—a speckled band?” “Sometimes I have thought that it was merely the wild talk of delirium. and the flooring was also thoroughly examined. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .

” “Two years have passed since then. I suddenly heard in the silence of the night the low whistle which had been the herald of her own death. which is opposite. you have not. however. “pray go on with your narrative. and my life has been until lately lonelier than ever. my thrill of terror when last night. near Reading. You are screening your stepfather. a dear friend. I was too shaken to go to bed again. whom I have known for many years. as I lay awake. Imagine.” said he. and as soon as it was daylight I slipped down. however. My stepfather has offered no opposition to the match. all. “But have you told me all?” “Yes. thinking over her terrible fate. then.” “You have done wisely. and we are to be married in the course of the spring. His name is Armitage—Percy Armitage—the second son of Mr. so I dressed. from whence I have come on this morning with the one object of seeing you and asking your advice.” said my friend. and drove to Leatherhead.” “Why. got a dog-cart at the Crown Inn. Two days ago some repairs were started in the west wing of the building. so that I have had to move into the chamber in which my sister died.” “Miss Roylott. Armitage. and my bedroom wall has been pierced. has done me the honour to ask my hand in marriage. what do you mean?” For answer Holmes pushed back the frill of black lace which Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . of Crane Water. but nothing was to be seen in the room. A month ago. I sprang up and lit the lamp.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 222 “These are very deep waters. and to sleep in the very bed in which she slept.

My heart is lightened already since I have Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . You are not averse to this trip. “and perhaps he hardly knows his own strength. Yet we have not a moment to lose.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 223 fringed the hand that lay upon our visitor’s knee.” he said at last. Will you not wait and breakfast?” “No. “You have been cruelly used. I must go.” said Holmes. It is probable that he will be away all day. the marks of four fingers and a thumb. “This is a very deep business. during which Holmes leaned his chin upon his hands and stared into the crackling fire. he spoke of coming into town to-day upon some most important business. But I shall return by the twelve o’clock train. were printed upon the white wrist. We have a housekeeper now. Five little livid spots. The lady coloured deeply and covered over her injured wrist. and I could easily get her out of the way.” “Excellent. would it be possible for us to see over these rooms without the knowledge of your stepfather?” “As it happens. What are you going to do yourself?” “I have one or two things which I would wish to do now that I am in town.” “Then we shall both come. “There are a thousand details which I should desire to know before I decide upon our course of action. If we were to come to Stoke Moran to-day. “He is a hard man. and that there would be nothing to disturb you.” There was a long silence. so as to be there in time for your coming. but she is old and foolish.” “And you may expect us early in the afternoon.” she said. Watson?” “By no means. I have myself some small business matters to attend to.

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


confided my trouble to you. I shall look forward to seeing you again this afternoon.” She dropped her thick black veil over her face and glided from the room. “And what do you think of it all, Watson?” asked Sherlock Holmes, leaning back in his chair. “It seems to me to be a most dark and sinister business.” “Dark enough and sinister enough.” “Yet if the lady is correct in saying that the flooring and walls are sound, and that the door, window, and chimney are impassable, then her sister must have been undoubtedly alone when she met her mysterious end.” “What becomes, then, of these nocturnal whistles, and what of the very peculiar words of the dying woman?” “I cannot think.” “When you combine the ideas of whistles at night, the presence of a band of gypsies who are on intimate terms with this old doctor, the fact that we have every reason to believe that the doctor has an interest in preventing his stepdaughter’s marriage, the dying allusion to a band, and, finally, the fact that Miss Helen Stoner heard a metallic clang, which might have been caused by one of those metal bars that secured the shutters falling back into its place, I think that there is good ground to think that the mystery may be cleared along those lines.” “But what, then, did the gypsies do?” “I cannot imagine.” “I see many objections to any such theory.” “And so do I. It is precisely for that reason that we are going to Stoke Moran this day. I want to see whether the objections are fatal, or if they may be explained away. But what in the name of
Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


the devil!” The ejaculation had been drawn from my companion by the fact that our door had been suddenly dashed open, and that a huge man had framed himself in the aperture. His costume was a peculiar mixture of the professional and of the agricultural, having a black top-hat, a long frock-coat, and a pair of high gaiters, with a hunting-crop swinging in his hand. So tall was he that his hat actually brushed the cross bar of the doorway, and his breadth seemed to span it across from side to side. A large face, seared with a thousand wrinkles, burned yellow with the sun, and marked with every evil passion, was turned from one to the other of us, while his deep-set, bile-shot eyes, and his high, thin, fleshless nose, gave him somewhat the resemblance to a fierce old bird of prey. “Which of you is Holmes?” asked this apparition. “My name, sir; but you have the advantage of me,” said my companion quietly. “I am Dr. Grimesby Roylott, of Stoke Moran.” “Indeed, Doctor,” said Holmes blandly. “Pray take a seat.” “I will do nothing of the kind. My stepdaughter has been here. I have traced her. What has she been saying to you?” “It is a little cold for the time of the year,” said Holmes. “What has she been saying to you?” screamed the old man furiously. “But I have heard that the crocuses promise well,” continued my companion imperturbably. “Ha! You put me off, do you?” said our new visitor, taking a step forward and shaking his hunting-crop. “I know you, you scoundrel! I have heard of you before. You are Holmes, the
Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


meddler.” My friend smiled. “Holmes, the busybody!” His smile broadened. “Holmes, the Scotland Yard Jack-in-office!” Holmes chuckled heartily. “Your conversation is most entertaining,” said he. “When you go out close the door, for there is a decided draught.” “I will go when I have said my say. Don’t you dare to meddle with my affairs. I know that Miss Stoner has been here. I traced her! I am a dangerous man to fall foul of! See here.” He stepped swiftly forward, seized the poker, and bent it into a curve with his huge brown hands. “See that you keep yourself out of my grip,” he snarled, and hurling the twisted poker into the fireplace he strode out of the room. “He seems a very amiable person,” said Holmes, laughing. “I am not quite so bulky, but if he had remained I might have shown him that my grip was not much more feeble than his own.” As he spoke he picked up the steel poker and, with a sudden effort, straightened it out again. “Fancy his having the insolence to confound me with the official detective force! This incident gives zest to our investigation, however, and I only trust that our little friend will not suffer from her imprudence in allowing this brute to trace her. And now, Watson, we shall order breakfast, and afterwards I shall walk down to Doctors’ Commons, where I hope to get some data which may help us in this matter.” It was nearly one o’clock when Sherlock Holmes returned from
Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


his excursion. He held in his hand a sheet of blue paper, scrawled over with notes and figures. “I have seen the will of the deceased wife,” said he. “To determine its exact meaning I have been obliged to work out the present prices of the investments with which it is concerned. The total income, which at the time of the wife’s death was little short of 1100 pounds, is now, through the fall in agricultural prices, not more than 750 pounds. Each daughter can claim an income of 250 pounds, in case of marriage. It is evident, therefore, that if both girls had married, this beauty would have had a mere pittance, while even one of them would cripple him to a very serious extent. My morning’s work has not been wasted, since it has proved that he has the very strongest motives for standing in the way of anything of the sort. And now, Watson, this is too serious for dawdling, especially as the old man is aware that we are interesting ourselves in his affairs; so if you are ready, we shall call a cab and drive to Waterloo. I should be very much obliged if you would slip your revolver into your pocket. An Eley’s No. 2 is an excellent argument with gentlemen who can twist steel pokers into knots. That and a tooth-brush are, I think, all that we need.” At Waterloo we were fortunate in catching a train for Leatherhead, where we hired a trap at the station inn and drove for four or five miles through the lovely Surrey lanes. It was a perfect day, with a bright sun and a few fleecy clouds in the heavens. The trees and wayside hedges were just throwing out their first green shoots, and the air was full of the pleasant smell of the moist earth. To me at least there was a strange contrast between the sweet promise of the spring and this sinister quest upon which we were engaged. My companion sat in the front of
Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


the trap, his arms folded, his hat pulled down over his eyes, and his chin sunk upon his breast, buried in the deepest thought. Suddenly, however, he started, tapped me on the shoulder, and pointed over the meadows “Look there!” said he. A heavily timbered park stretched up in a gentle slope, thickening into a grove at the highest point. From amid the branches there jutted out the grey gables and high roof-tree of a very old mansion. “Stoke Moran?” said he. “Yes, sir, that be the house of Dr. Grimesby Roylott,” remarked the driver. “There is some building going on there,” said Holmes; “that is where we are going.” “There’s the village,” said the driver, pointing to a cluster of roofs some distance to the left; “but if you want to get to the house, you’ll find it shorter to get over this stile, and so by the foot-path over the fields. There it is, where the lady is walking.” “And the lady, I fancy, is Miss Stoner,” observed Holmes, shading his eyes. “Yes, I think we had better do as you suggest.” We got off, paid our fare, and the trap rattled back on its way to Leatherhead. “I thought it as well,” said Holmes as we climbed the stile, “that this fellow should think we had come here as architects, or on some definite business. It may stop his gossip. Good-afternoon, Miss Stoner. You see that we have been as good as our word.” Our client of the morning had hurried forward to meet us with a face which spoke her joy. “I have been waiting so eagerly for you,” she cried, shaking hands with us warmly. “All has turned
Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


out splendidly. Dr. Roylott has gone to town, and it is unlikely that he will be back before evening.” “We have had the pleasure of making the doctor’s acquaintance,” said Holmes, and in a few words he sketched out what had occurred. Miss Stoner turned white to the lips as she listened. “Good heavens!” she cried, “he has followed me, then.” “So it appears.” “He is so cunning that I never know when I am safe from him. What will he say when he returns?” “He must guard himself, for he may find that there is someone more cunning than himself upon his track. You must lock yourself up from him to-night. If he is violent, we shall take you away to your aunt’s at Harrow. Now, we must make the best use of our time, so kindly take us at once to the rooms which we are to examine.” The building was of grey, lichen-blotched stone, with a high central portion and two curving wings, like the claws of a crab, thrown out on each side. In one of these wings the windows were broken and blocked with wooden boards, while the roof was partly caved in, a picture of ruin. The central portion was in little better repair, but the right-hand block was comparatively modern, and the blinds in the windows, with the blue smoke curling up from the chimneys, showed that this was where the family resided. Some scaffolding had been erected against the end wall, and the stone-work had been broken into, but there were no signs of any workmen at the moment of our visit. Holmes walked slowly up and down the ill-trimmed lawn and examined with deep attention the outsides of the windows.
Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


“This, I take it, belongs to the room in which you used to sleep, the centre one to your sister’s, and the one next to the main building to Dr. Roylott’s chamber?” “Exactly so. But I am now sleeping in the middle one.” “Pending the alterations, as I understand. By the way, there does not seem to be any very pressing need for repairs at that end wall.” “There were none. I believe that it was an excuse to move me from my room.” “Ah! that is suggestive. Now, on the other side of this narrow wing runs the corridor from which these three rooms open. There are windows in it, of course?” “Yes, but very small ones. Too narrow for anyone to pass through.” “As you both locked your doors at night, your rooms were unapproachable from that side. Now, would you have the kindness to go into your room and bar your shutters?” Miss Stoner did so, and Holmes, after a careful examination through the open window, endeavoured in every way to force the shutter open, but without success. There was no slit through which a knife could be passed to raise the bar. Then with his lens he tested the hinges, but they were of solid iron, built firmly into the massive masonry. “Hum!” said he, scratching his chin in some perplexity, “my theory certainly presents some difficulties. No one could pass these shutters if they were bolted. Well, we shall see if the inside throws any light upon the matter.” A small side door led into the whitewashed corridor from which the three bedrooms opened. Holmes refused to examine the third chamber, so we passed at once to the second, that in which Miss
Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics

examining minutely the cracks between the boards. Holmes drew one of the chairs into a corner and sat silent. made up all the furniture in the room save for a square of Wilton carpet in the centre. and in which her sister had met with her fate. I never heard of her using it. with a low ceiling and a gaping fireplace. it was only put there a couple of years ago. a narrow white-counterpaned bed in another. with two small wicker-work chairs. while his eyes travelled round and round and up and down. Then he did the same with the wood-work with which the chamber was panelled. worm-eaten oak. so old and discoloured that it may have dated from the original building of the house. the tassel actually lying upon the pillow. “Where does that bell communicate with?” he asked at last pointing to a thick belt-rope which hung down beside the bed. after the fashion of old country-houses. These articles. I suppose?” “No. It was a homely little room.” “It looks newer than the other things?” “Yes.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 231 Stoner was now sleeping. You will excuse me for a few minutes while I satisfy myself as to this floor. We used always to get what we wanted for ourselves. and a dressing-table on the left-hand side of the window. The boards round and the panelling of the walls were of brown. it seemed unnecessary to put so nice a bell-pull there. “It goes to the housekeeper’s room.” He threw himself down upon his face with his lens in his hand and crawled swiftly backward and forward.” “Your sister asked for it.” “Indeed. taking in every detail of the apartment. Finally he walked over to the bed and spent some time in staring at it and Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . A brown chest of drawers stood in one corner.

Holmes walked slowly round and examined each and all of them with the keenest interest. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . pulling at the rope. “Why. For example. we shall now carry our researches into the inner apartment. it is not even attached to a wire. “Yes.” said the lady. Grimesby Roylott’s chamber was larger than that of his step-daughter. “Won’t it ring?” “No. there were several little changes carried out about that time. a round table. and ventilators which do not ventilate.” “How very absurd! I never noticed that before.” “Very strange!” muttered Holmes. a small wooden shelf full of books. Finally he took the bellrope in his hand and gave it a brisk tug. With your permission. A camp-bed. but was as plainly furnished. what a fool a builder must be to open a ventilator into another room.” Dr. mostly of a technical character an armchair beside the bed. “Done about the same time as the bell-rope?” remarked Holmes.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 232 in running his eye up and down the wall. “There are one or two very singular points about this room. You can see now that it is fastened to a hook just above where the little opening for the ventilator is. with the same trouble. when. Miss Stoner.” “They seem to have been of a most interesting character— dummy bell-ropes. and a large iron safe were the principal things which met the eye.” said he. he might have communicated with the outside air!” “That is also quite modern. it’s a dummy. This is very interesting. a plain wooden chair against the wall.

That is quite settled. But there is a cheetah and a baboon. and with your permission we shall walk out upon the lawn. Miss Stoner. and yet a saucer of milk does not go very far in satisfying its wants.” said he. “No. for example?” “No. yes.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 233 “What’s in here?” he asked.” “Oh! you have seen inside. “My stepfather’s business papers.” I had never seen my friend’s face so grim or his brow so dark as it was when we turned from the scene of this investigation. of course! Well. was curled upon itself and tied so as to make a loop of whipcord. is it? Ah. I think that I have seen enough now. I daresay.” “There isn’t a cat in it. some years ago. Watson?” “It’s a common enough lash. however. The lash. then?” “Only once. a cheetah is just a big cat.” “That is not quite so common. “What do you make of that. tapping the safe. There is one point which I should wish to determine. look at this!” He took up a small saucer of milk which stood on the top of it.” He squatted down in front of the wooden chair and examined the seat of it with the greatest attention. and when a clever man turns his brains to crime it is the worst of all. We Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “Thank you. But I don’t know why if should be tied.” “Ah. we don’t keep a cat. me! it’s a wicked world. What a strange idea!” “Well. “Hello! Here is something interesting!” The object which had caught his eye was a small dog lash hung on one corner of the bed. I remember that it was full of papers. rising and putting his lens in his pocket.

both my friend and I must spend the night in your room.” “In the first place. put your lamp there as a signal to us. you could manage there for one night. and we shall investigate the cause of this noise which has disturbed you. easily. “Yes. on pretence of a headache.” Both Miss Stoner and I gazed at him in astonishment. in spite of the repairs.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 234 had walked several times up and down the lawn. you must open the shutters of your window. I have no doubt that.” “The matter is too serious for any hesitation.” “Oh. when your stepfather comes back.” said he. undo the hasp.” “Very good. yes.” “I shall most certainly do so. Let me explain. “that you should absolutely follow my advice in every respect.” “I assure you that I am in your hands. neither Miss Stoner nor myself liking to break in upon his thoughts before he roused himself from his reverie. Miss Stoner. “It is very essential.” “You must confine yourself to your room. Your life may depend upon your compliance. I believe that that is the village inn over there?” “Yes.” “The rest you will leave in our hands. that is the Crown.” “But what will you do?” “We shall spend the night in your room.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . it must be so. Your windows would be visible from there?” “Certainly. Then when you hear him retire for the night. and then withdraw quietly with everything which you are likely to want into the room which you used to occupy.

And now. and we heard the hoarse roar of the doctor’s voice and saw the fury with which he shook his clinched fists at him. Grimesby Roylott drive past.” “Then. The trap drove on. Watson.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 235 “I believe.” “You can at least tell me whether my own thought is correct.” said Holmes as we sat together in the gathering darkness. “Do you know.” “I should prefer to have clearer proofs before I speak. and from our window we could command a view of the avenue gate. Holmes. At dusk we saw Dr.” Sherlock Holmes and I had no difficulty in engaging a bedroom and sitting-room at the Crown Inn. Roylott returned and saw us our journey would be in vain. There is a distinct element of danger. tell me what was the cause of my sister’s death. laying her hand upon my companion’s sleeve. They were on the upper floor. I do not think so. and if she died from some sudden fright. that you have already made up your mind. “I have really some scruples as to taking you to-night.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and a few minutes later we saw a sudden light spring up among the trees as the lamp was lit in one of the sitting-rooms. for if you will do what I have told you you may rest assured that we shall soon drive away the dangers that threaten you.” “No.” said Miss Stoner. The boy had some slight difficulty in undoing the heavy iron gates. Mr. “Perhaps I have. Good-bye. his huge form looming up beside the little figure of the lad who drove him. we must leave you for if Dr. and of the inhabited wing of Stoke Moran Manor House. and be brave. for pity’s sake. I think that there was probably some more tangible cause. Miss Stoner.

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 236 “Can I be of assistance?” “Your presence might be invaluable. or it would have been remarked upon at the coroner’s inquiry. but I fancy that I may have deduced a little more.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “But what harm can there be in that?” “Well. too?” “Yes. It could only be a small one. of course that suggested at once that there must be a communication between the two rooms.” “I knew that we should find a ventilator before ever we came to Stoke Moran. Now. It was so small that a rat could hardly pass through. and what purpose that could answer I confess is more than I can imagine. I did.” “Did you observe anything very peculiar about that bed?” “No.” “No. but I do not think that it is such a very unusual thing to have a small opening between two rooms. You have evidently seen more in these rooms than was visible to me. I imagine that you saw all that I did. and a lady who sleeps in the bed dies.” “You speak of danger.” “It is very kind of you. there is at least a curious coincidence of dates.” “I saw nothing remarkable save the bell-rope. Roylott’s cigar.” “My dear Holmes!” “Oh. a cord is hung.” “You saw the ventilator. I deduced a ventilator.” “Then I shall certainly come. yes. Does not that strike you?” “I cannot as yet see any connection. A ventilator is made. You remember in her statement she said that her sister could smell Dr.

He has nerve and he has knowledge. “That is our signal. Two hours passed slowly away. Watson. “I seem to see dimly what you are hinting at. suddenly.” “The lady could not move her bed. but I think. When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals. This man strikes even deeper. Did you ever see a bed fastened like that before?” “I cannot say that I have. We are only just in time to prevent some subtle and horrible crime. A moment later we were out on the dark road. since it was clearly never meant for a bell-pull.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 237 “It was clamped to the floor. just at the stroke of eleven.” “Holmes. for goodness’ sake let us have a quiet pipe and turn our minds for a few hours to something more cheerful. a chill wind blowing in our faces.” I cried. and one yellow light twinkling in front of us through the gloom to guide us on our sombre errand. “it comes from the middle window. Palmer and Pritchard were among the heads of their profession. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . that we shall be able to strike deeper still.” said Holmes.” About nine o’clock the light among the trees was extinguished. But we shall have horrors enough before the night is over. and then. springing to his feet. It must always be in the same relative position to the ventilator and to the rope—or so we may call it.” “Subtle enough and horrible enough.” As we passed out he exchanged a few words with the landlord. a single bright light shone out right in front of us. and all was dark in the direction of the Manor House. explaining that we were going on a late visit to an acquaintance. and that it was possible that we might spend the night there.

“It is a nice household. “did you see it?” Holmes was for the moment as startled as I. Then creeping up to me and making a trumpet of his hand. I confess that I felt easier in my mind when. and were about to enter through the window when out from a clump of laurel bushes there darted what seemed to be a hideous and distorted child. “That is the baboon. “Do not go asleep. your very life may depend upon it. perhaps we might find it upon our shoulders at any moment. There was a cheetah. My companion noiselessly closed the shutters.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 238 There was little difficulty in entering the grounds. for unrepaired breaches gaped in the old park wall. Have your pistol ready in case we should need it. His hand closed like a vise upon my wrist in his agitation. Making our way among the trees. moved the lamp onto the table.” he murmured. crossed it. “We must sit without light. we reached the lawn. I found myself inside the bedroom.” I had forgotten the strange pets which the doctor affected. He would see it through the ventilator. after following Holmes’s example and slipping off my shoes. Then he broke into a low laugh and put his lips to my ear. “My God!” I whispered. he whispered into my ear again so gently that it was all that I could do to distinguish the words: “The least sound would be fatal to our plans.” I nodded to show that I had heard. I will sit on the side of Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . All was as we had seen it in the daytime.” I nodded again. too. and cast his eyes round the room. who threw itself upon the grass with writhing limbs and then ran swiftly across the lawn into the darkness.

like that of a small jet of steam escaping continually from a kettle. I heard a gentle sound of movement. and then all was silent once more. From outside came the occasional cry of a night-bird. Far away we could hear the deep tones of the parish clock. those quarters! Twelve struck. and still we sat waiting silently for whatever might befall. Someone in the next room had lit a dark-lantern. though the smell grew stronger. in the same state of nervous tension in which I was myself. and yet I knew that my companion sat open-eyed. For half an hour I sat with straining ears. How shall I ever forget that dreadful vigil? I could not hear a sound.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 239 the bed. Holmes had brought up a long thin cane.” I took out my revolver and laid it on the corner of the table. struck a match. within a few feet of me. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Holmes sprang from the bed. By it he laid the box of matches and the stump of a candle. Then he turned down the lamp. and we waited in absolute darkness. and lashed furiously with his cane at the bell-pull. Suddenly there was the momentary gleam of a light up in the direction of the ventilator. but was succeeded by a strong smell of burning oil and heated metal. The shutters cut off the least ray of light. and this he placed upon the bed beside him. which told us that the cheetah was indeed at liberty. and you in that chair. The instant that we heard it. not even the drawing of a breath. and one and two and three. How long they seemed. soothing sound. which vanished immediately. and once at our very window a long drawn catlike whine. Then suddenly another sound became audible—a very gentle. and we were left in darkness. which boomed out every quarter of an hour.

on the wooden chair. his bare ankles protruding beneath. “What can it mean?” I gasped. On the table stood a dark-lantern with the shutter half open. however. Watson?” he yelled. but the sudden glare flashing into my weary eyes made it impossible for me to tell what it was at which my friend lashed so savagely. Take your pistol. Grimesby Roylott clad in a long grey dressing-gown. “And perhaps. and his feet thrust into red heelless Turkish slippers. and we will enter Dr. that cry raised the sleepers from their beds. He had ceased to strike and was gazing up at the ventilator when suddenly there broke from the silence of the night the most horrible cry to which I have ever listened. after all. sat Dr. It swelled up louder and louder. until the last echoes of it had died away into the silence from which it rose. At the moment when Holmes struck the light I heard a low. throwing a brilliant beam of light upon the iron safe. a hoarse yell of pain and fear and anger all mingled in the one dreadful shriek. I at his heels. Across his lap lay the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” With a grave face he lit the lamp and led the way down the corridor. It was a singular sight which met our eyes. it is for the best. Then he turned the handle and entered. with the cocked pistol in my hand. and he at me. the door of which was ajar. Beside this table.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 240 “You see it. They say that away down in the village. and even in the distant parsonage. clear whistle. and I stood gazing at Holmes.” Holmes answered. Twice he struck at the chamber door without any reply from within. “It means that it is all over. I could. It struck cold to our hearts. Roylott’s room. “You see it?” But I saw nothing. see that his face was deadly pale and filled with horror and loathing.

with brownish speckles. of Stoke Moran. Grimesby Roylott. carrying it at arm’s length. of how the slow process of official inquiry came to the conclusion that the doctor met his fate while indiscreetly playing with a dangerous pet. and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another. “The band! the speckled band!” whispered Holmes. and there reared itself from among his hair the squat diamond-shaped head and puffed neck of a loathsome serpent. He has died within ten seconds of being bitten. It is not necessary that I should prolong a narrative which has already run to too great a length by telling how we broke the sad news to the terrified girl. how we conveyed her by the morning train to the care of her good aunt at Harrow. His chin was cocked upward and his eyes were fixed in a dreadful. As we entered he made neither sound nor motion. which seemed to be bound tightly round his head. in truth. and throwing the noose round the reptile’s neck he drew it from its horrid perch and. “the deadliest snake in India. “It is a swamp adder!” cried Holmes. The little which I had yet to learn of the case was told me by Sherlock Holmes as we travelled back next day. Violence does. I took a step forward. and we can then remove Miss Stoner to some place of shelter and let the county police know what has happened. recoil upon the violent.” As he spoke he drew the dog-whip swiftly from the dead man’s lap. threw it into the iron safe.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 241 short stock with the long lash which we had noticed during the day. Let us thrust this creature back into its den. Such are the true facts of the death of Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . which he closed upon it. Round his brow he had a peculiar yellow band. rigid stare at the corner of the ceiling. In an instant his strange headgear began to move.

from his point of view. my dear Watson. I felt that I was probably on the right track. The idea of a snake instantly occurred to me. how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data. It would be a sharp-eyed coroner. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . instantly gave rise to the suspicion that the rope was there as a bridge for something passing through the hole and coming to the bed. The rapidity with which such a poison would take effect would also. to this ventilator. Of course he must recall the snake before the morning light revealed it to the victim. were sufficient to put me upon an entirely wrong scent. no doubt to explain the appearance which she had caught a hurried glimpse of by the light of her match. indeed. however. The discovery that this was a dummy. who could distinguish the two little dark punctures which would show where the poison fangs had done their work. and when I coupled it with my knowledge that the doctor was furnished with a supply of creatures from India. and the use of the word ‘band.’ which was used by the poor girl.” said he. be an advantage. and that the bed was clamped to the floor. The presence of the gypsies. probably by the use of the milk which we saw. He had trained it. as I have already remarked to you. to return to him when summoned. My attention was speedily drawn. The idea of using a form of poison which could not possibly be discovered by any chemical test was just such a one as would occur to a clever and ruthless man who had had an Eastern training. Then I thought of the whistle.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 242 “I had. it became clear to me that whatever danger threatened an occupant of the room could not come either from the window or the door. “come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows. and to the bell-rope which hung down to the bed. I can only claim the merit that I instantly reconsidered my position when.

the saucer of milk. you know the steps which I took in order to put the matter to the proof. The sight of the safe. but sooner or later she must fall a victim.” “With the result of driving it through the ventilator. and I instantly lit the light and attacked it.” “And also with the result of causing it to turn upon its master at the other side. and I cannot say that it is likely to weigh very heavily upon my conscience. so that it flew upon the first person it saw. Having once made up my mind. Grimesby Roylott’s death. An inspection of his chair showed me that he had been in the habit of standing on it. It might or might not bite the occupant.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 243 He would put it through this ventilator at the hour that he thought best. The metallic clang heard by Miss Stoner was obviously caused by her stepfather hastily closing the door of his safe upon its terrible occupant. Some of the blows of my cane came home and roused its snakish temper. with the certainty that it would crawl down the rope and land on the bed. and the loop of whipcord were enough to finally dispel any doubts which may have remained. In this way I am no doubt indirectly responsible for Dr. “I had come to these conclusions before ever I had entered his room. which of course would be necessary in order that he should reach the ventilator.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . perhaps she might escape every night for a week. I heard the creature hiss as I have no doubt that you did also.

The story has. but. there were only two which I was the means of introducing to his notice—that of Mr. Mr. Hatherley’s thumb. although I continually visited him and occasionally even persuaded him to forgo his Bohemian habits so far as to come and visit us. THE ADVENTURE OF THE ENGINEER’S THUMB O f all the problems which have been submitted to my friend. been told more than once in the newspapers. even if it gave my friend fewer openings for those deductive methods of reasoning by which he achieved such remarkable results. for solution during the years of our intimacy. and that of Colonel Warburton’s madness. but the other was so strange in its inception and so dramatic in its details that it may be the more worthy of being placed upon record. and the mystery clears gradually away as each new discovery furnishes a step which leads on to the complete truth. and the lapse of two years has hardly served to weaken the effect. and as I happened to live at no very great distance from Paddington Elecbook Classics Arthur Conan Doyle . its effect is much less striking when set forth en bloc in a single half-column of print than when the facts slowly evolve before your own eyes. Sherlock Holmes. like all such narratives. I had returned to civil practice and had finally abandoned Holmes in his Baker Street rooms. My practice had steadily increased. that the events occurred which I am now about to summarize. not long after my marriage. I believe.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 244 Adventure IX. At the time the circumstances made a deep impression upon me. Of these the latter may have afforded a finer field for an acute and original observer. It was in the summer of ‘89.

There he is. which was mottled all over with bloodstains. my old ally. and hastened downstairs. “he’s all right. the guard.” he whispered. “It’s a new patient. masculine face. He was quietly dressed in a suit of heather tweed with a soft cloth cap which he had laid down upon my books. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . One morning. not more than five-andtwenty. “I’ve got him here. then he couldn’t slip away. jerking his thumb over his shoulder.” “What is it. I was awakened by the maid tapping at the door to announce that two men had come from Paddington and were waiting in the consulting-room.” he whispered. I entered my consulting-room and found a gentleman seated by the table. this trusty tout. He was young. for his manner suggested that it was some strange creature which he had caged up in my room. all safe and sound. As I descended. I must go now. then?” I asked. Round one of his hands he had a handkerchief wrapped. whom I had cured of a painful and lingering disease. just the same as you. but he was exceedingly pale and gave me the impression of a man who was suffering from some strong agitation. for I knew by experience that railway cases were seldom trivial. I should say. “I thought I’d bring him round myself. One of these. at a little before seven o’clock. without even giving me time to thank him. which it took all his strength of mind to control.” And off he went.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 245 Station. came out of the room and closed the door tightly behind him. I have my dooties. Doctor. I got a few patients from among the officials. with a strong. I dressed hurriedly. was never weary of advertising my virtues and of endeavouring to send me on every sufferer over whom he might have any influence.

a worthy fellow very kindly escorted me here. Doctor. perhaps you would kindly attend to my thumb. Victoria Street (3d floor). I understand. “I regret that I have kept you waiting.” said I. Victor Hatherley. style.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 246 “I am sorry to knock you up so early. however. “but I have had a very serious accident during the night.” “Oh. It gave Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . or rather to the place where my thumb used to be. “Mr. It was useless. “That’s better!” said he. “You are fresh from a night journey.” he gasped. very weary and pale-looking. “I have been making a fool of myself. ringing note. and the colour began to come back to his bloodless cheeks. and abode of my morning visitor. He was off in one of those hysterical outbursts which come upon a strong nature when some great crisis is over and gone. my night could not be called monotonous. He laughed very heartily. “Not at all. sitting down in my library-chair. All my medical instincts rose up against that laugh. which is in itself a monotonous occupation.” said he. Doctor. I came in by train this morning. “Stop it!” I cried. hydraulic engineer. “pull yourself together!” and I poured out some water from a caraffe. “And now.” I dashed some brandy into the water. leaning back in his chair and shaking his sides. 16A. and laughed. Presently he came to himself once more.” I took it up and glanced at it. and on inquiring at Paddington as to where I might find a doctor.” He unwound the handkerchief and held out his hand. but I see that she has left it upon the sidetable.” That was the name. Drink this.” said he. I gave the maid a card. with a high.

” “You horrify me.” “Excellent! You should have been a surgeon. so I tied one end of my handkerchief very tightly round the wrist and braced it up with a twig. I was very weak. though he bit his lip from time to time.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . There were four protruding fingers and a horrid red.” “Perhaps you had better not speak of the matter. When I came to I found that it was still bleeding.” “This has been done. It must have bled considerably. it did. and I think that I must have been senseless for a long time. you see.” “It is a question of hydraulics. and finally covered it over with cotton wadding and carbolized bandages. examining the wound. “Capital! Between your brandy and your bandage. and came within my own province.” “A thing like a cleaver. He lay back without wincing.” said I. “this is a terrible injury. cleaned it. I feel a new man. but I have had a good deal to go through. dressed it. “An accident.” said he.” “Yes. I fainted when it was done.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 247 even my hardened nerves a shudder to look at it. “Good heavens!” I cried. spongy surface where the thumb should have been. “by a very heavy and sharp instrument. It is evidently trying to your nerves. “How is that?” I asked when I had finished. It had been hacked or torn right out from the roots. I presume?” “By no means.” I sponged the wound.” “What! a murderous attack?” “Very murderous indeed.

Would you give me an introduction to him?” “I’ll do better. I’ll take you round to him myself. though of course I must use the official police as well. as I expected. driving with my new acquaintance to Baker Street.” “We’ll call a cab and go together. Sherlock Holmes. “if it is anything in the nature of a problem which you desire to see solved. Sherlock Holmes was. before you go to the official police. for it is a very extraordinary one. even if they believe me. all carefully dried and collected on the corner of the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I shall not feel easy until I have told my story.” “Oh.” “I should be immensely obliged to you.” “Ha!” cried I. Mr. and I have not much in the way of proof with which to back it up. explained the matter shortly to my wife. I should strongly recommend you to come to my friend. lounging about his sittingroom in his dressing-gown.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 248 “Oh. but. if it were not for the convincing evidence of this wound of mine. reading the agony column of The Times and smoking his before-breakfast pipe. We shall just be in time to have a little breakfast with him.” “Then my servant will call a cab. and in five minutes was inside a hansom. I have heard of that fellow. and. I should be surprised if they believed my statement. the clews which I can give them are so vague that it is a question whether justice will be done.” I rushed upstairs. between ourselves. Do you feel equal to it?” “Yes. which was composed of all the plugs and dottles left from his smokes of the day before. I shall have to tell my tale to the police. and I shall be with you in an instant. no. not now. “and I should be very glad if he would take the matter up.” answered my visitor.

and joined us in a hearty meal.” said my patient. placed a pillow beneath his head. To me it has been exceptionally so. and I think that your breakfast has completed the cure. “I suppose that everyone finds his first independent start in business a dreary experience.” said he. ordered fresh rashers and eggs. having served my time. I determined to start in business for myself and took professional chambers in Victoria Street. “but I have felt another man since the doctor bandaged me. and I have had considerable experience of my work during the seven years that I was apprenticed to Venner & Matheson. During two years I have had three consultations and one small Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Mr. and we listened in silence to the strange story which our visitor detailed to us. so I shall start at once upon my peculiar experiences. and laid a glass of brandy and water within his reach. When it was concluded he settled our new acquaintance upon the sofa. but stop when you are tired and keep up your strength with a little stimulant. while I sat opposite to him.” said he. “that I am an orphan and a bachelor. Hatherley. By profession I am a hydraulic engineer. the well-known firm. lie down there and make yourself absolutely at home. residing alone in lodgings in London. Two years ago. and having also come into a fair sum of money through my poor father’s death. Tell us what you can.” Holmes sat in his big armchair with the weary. “Pray. He received us in his quietly genial fashion. heavy-lidded expression which veiled his keen and eager nature.” “Thank you. “It is easy to see that your experience has been no common one. of Greenwich.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 249 mantelpiece. I shall take up as little of your valuable time as possible. “You must know.

from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon. and the skin of his cheeks was drawn quite tense over his outstanding bones. with the name of ‘Colonel Lysander Stark’ engraved upon it. Hatherley. I should judge. just as I was thinking of leaving the office. I have it from the same source that you are both an orphan and a bachelor and are residing alone in London. ‘but you will excuse me if I say that I cannot see how all this bears upon my professional Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . My gross takings amount to 27 pounds 10s. and due to no disease. Yet this emaciation seemed to be his natural habit. perhaps it is better that I should not tell you that just at this moment. Mr. “‘Mr. Close at his heels came the colonel himself. a man rather over the middle size.’ “‘That is quite correct. his step brisk. would be nearer forty than thirty. but of an exceeding thinness.’ “I bowed. and his bearing assured. until at last my heart began to sink. I do not think that I have ever seen so thin a man. and his age. He brought up a card. and I came to believe that I should never have any practice at all. too. feeling as flattered as any young man would at such an address. His whole face sharpened away into nose and chin. for his eye was bright. and that is absolutely all that my profession has brought me.’ I answered. ‘You have been recommended to me. He was plainly but neatly dressed. Hatherley?’ said he.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 250 job. as being a man who is not only proficient in his profession but is also discreet and capable of preserving a secret. “Yesterday. with something of a German accent. however. I waited in my little den. Every day. my clerk entered to say there was a gentleman waiting who wished to see me upon business. ‘May I ask who it was who gave me so good a character?’ “‘Well.

and of course we may expect that more from a man who is alone than from one who lives in the bosom of his family.’ “‘Absolute and complete silence before.’ “‘Very good. then?’ said he at last. sir. “‘I beg that you will state your business. and darting like lightning across the room he flung open the door.’ said I. I have a professional commission for you. “‘Do you promise. “A feeling of repulsion. and of something akin to fear had begun to rise within me at the strange antics of this fleshless man. Now we can talk in safety. either in word or writing?’ “‘I have already given you my word.’ said I. But you will find that all I say is really to the point.’ said he.’ He drew up his chair very close to mine and began to stare at me again with the same questioning and thoughtful look.’ “‘If I promise to keep a secret. and after? No reference to the matter at all. during. but absolute secrecy is quite essential—absolute secrecy. “‘That’s all right. “‘Yes.’ He suddenly sprang up.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 251 qualifications. and it seemed to me that I had never seen so suspicious and questioning an eye. coming back. ‘I know the clerks are sometimes curious as to their master’s affairs. I promise. The passage outside was empty.’ “He looked very hard at me as I spoke. ‘my time is of value. you understand.’ Heaven forgive me for that last sentence. Even my dread of losing a client could not restrain me from showing my impatience. ‘you may absolutely depend upon my doing so. but the words Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I understand that it was on a professional matter that you wished to speak to me?’ “‘Undoubtedly so.

Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .’ “‘Yes.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 252 came to my lips. then?’ “‘Yes. We shall want you to come to-night by the last train. There is a train from Paddington which would bring you there at about 11:15. If you show us what is wrong we shall soon set it right ourselves. Could I not come at some more convenient hour?’ “‘We have judged it best that you should come late.’ “‘There is a drive. “‘How would fifty guineas for a night’s work suit you?’ he asked. and within seven miles of Reading. It is a good seven miles from Eyford Station. What do you think of such a commission as that?’ “‘The work appears to be light and the pay munificent.’ “‘Precisely so. we could easily give you a shake-down. It is to recompense you for any inconvenience that we are paying to you. I should be compelled to stop the night. I suppose there would be no chance of a train back. our little place is quite out in the country. I simply want your opinion about a hydraulic stamping machine which has got out of gear. but an hour’s would be nearer the mark. “‘Most admirably.’ “‘Very good. It is a little place near the borders of Oxfordshire. in Berkshire.’ “‘Then we can hardly get there before midnight.’ “‘That is very awkward.’ “‘I shall come down in a carriage to meet you.’ “‘Where to?’ “‘To Eyford.’ “‘I say a night’s work.

however. in the grounds of my neighbours. there is plenty of time to do so. and that it is only found in one or two places in England?’ “‘I have heard so. I have no wish to commit you to anything without your having it all laid before you. of course.’ “I thought of the fifty guineas. Naturally. You are probably aware that fuller’s-earth is a valuable product. it was to my interest to buy their land before they discovered its true value.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 253 a young and unknown man. however. to understand a little more clearly what it is that you wish me to do. ‘Not at all.’ “‘Some little time ago I bought a small place—a very small place—within ten miles of Reading. On examining it. Still. ‘I shall be very happy to accommodate myself to your wishes. and that it formed a link between two very much larger ones upon the right and left—both of them.’ said I. It is very natural that the pledge of secrecy which we have exacted from you should have aroused your curiosity. however.’ “‘Quite so. but unfortunately I had no capital by which I could do this.’ “‘Then the matter stands thus. These good people were absolutely ignorant that their land contained that which was quite as valuable as a gold-mine. I was fortunate enough to discover that there was a deposit of fuller’s-earth in one of my fields. I suppose that we are absolutely safe from eavesdroppers?’ “‘Entirely. a fee which would buy an opinion from the very heads of your profession. and of how very useful they would be to me. I found that this deposit was a comparatively small one. if you would like to draw out of the business. I took a Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I should like.

at Eyford at 11:15. But that is a mere detail. then. I have taken you fully into my confidence now. however. I hope that I make it all plain?’ “‘I quite follow you. “Well. and if it once became known that we had hydraulic engineers coming to our little house. Mr. so as to remove them without revealing what they are. which.’ He rose as he spoke. and then. it would be good-bye to any chance of getting these fields and carrying out our plans.’ “‘I shall certainly be there. and they suggested that we should quietly and secretly work our own little deposit and that in this way we should earn the money which would enable us to buy the neighbouring fields. pressing my hand in a cold. ‘The only point which I could not quite understand was what use you could make of a hydraulic press in excavating fuller’s-earth. he hurried from the room.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 254 few of my friends into the secret. Hatherley. when I came to think it all over in cool blood I was very Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and we wish your advice upon the subject.’ said I.’ He looked at me with a last long. as I understand.’ “‘And not a word to a soul. We compress the earth into bricks. however. ‘I shall expect you. questioning gaze. it would soon rouse inquiry. if the facts came out. has got out of order. dank grasp. and I have shown you how I trust you. as I have already explained.’ “‘Ah!’ said he carelessly. and then. That is why I have made you promise me that you will not tell a human being that you are going to Eyford to-night. We guard our secret very jealously. and in order to help us in our operations we erected a hydraulic press. is dug out like gravel from a pit. This we have now been doing for some time. ‘we have our own process. This press.

and I could not think that his explanation of the fuller’s-earth was sufficient to explain the necessity for my coming at midnight. However. however. I found my acquaintance of the morning waiting in the shadow upon the other side. On the other hand.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 255 much astonished. Without a word he grasped my arm and hurried me into a carriage. I was in time for the last train to Eyford. It was a chestnut. tapped on the wood-work. of course. and there was no one upon the platform save a single sleepy porter with a lantern.” “Tired-looking or fresh?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . However.” “Did you observe the colour?” “Yes. and I reached the little dim-lit station after eleven o’clock. the door of which was standing open. drove to Paddington. only one. having obeyed to the letter the injunction as to holding my tongue. for the fee was at least tenfold what I should have asked had I set a price upon my own services. “Yes.” “One horse?” interjected Holmes. I threw all fears to the winds. the face and manner of my patron had made an unpleasant impression upon me. On the one hand. I saw it by the side-lights when I was stepping into the carriage. He drew up the windows on either side. and it was possible that this order might lead to other ones. and away we went as fast as the horse could go. as you may both think. I was the only passenger who got out there. and his extreme anxiety lest I should tell anyone of my errand. As I passed out through the wicket gate. ate a hearty supper. at this sudden commission which had been intrusted to me. “At Reading I had to change not only my carriage but my station. I was glad. and started off.

and I was aware. right out of the carriage and into the hall. pulled me swiftly into a porch which gaped in front of us. Suddenly a door opened at the other end of the passage. golden bar of light shot out in our direction. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . It grew broader.” “Thank you. and the colonel fumbled about looking for matches and muttering under his breath. the bumping of the road was exchanged for the crisp smoothness of a gravel-drive. At last. but I should think.” “Away we went then. but the colonel answered only in monosyllables. fresh and glossy. and a long. and we drove for at least an hour. and the conversation soon flagged. and from the time that we took. Colonel Lysander Stark had said that it was only seven miles. I am sorry to have interrupted you. from the rate that we seemed to go. “It was pitch dark inside the house. The country roads seem to be not very good in that part of the world. as I followed after him. that he was looking at me with great intensity. Pray continue your most interesting statement. The instant that I had crossed the threshold the door slammed heavily behind us. Now and then I hazarded some remark to break the monotony of the journey. as it were. He sat at my side in silence all the time. more than once when I glanced in his direction. however. Colonel Lysander Stark sprang out. I tried to look out of the windows to see something of where we were. and I could make out nothing save the occasional bright blur of a passing light. so that I failed to catch the most fleeting glance of the front of the house. and I heard faintly the rattle of the wheels as the carriage drove away. but they were made of frosted glass. and. and the carriage came to a stand. We stepped.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 256 “Oh. that it must have been nearer twelve. for we lurched and jolted terribly.

plainly furnished room. and what were they doing living in this strange. heavily barred. hoping that I might catch some glimpse of the country-side. but Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Colonel Stark went up to her. ‘I shall not keep you waiting an instant. but an oak shutter. and vanished into the darkness. on which several German books were scattered. Then I walked across to the window. Who were these German people. I could see that she was pretty. There was an old clock ticking loudly somewhere in the passage. which she held above her head. and in spite of my ignorance of German I could see that two of them were treatises on science.’ said he. that was all I knew. was folded across it.’ said he. It was a wonderfully silent house. but otherwise everything was deadly still. pushing her back into the room from whence she had come. he walked towards me again with the lamp in his hand. “I glanced at the books upon the table. pushing her face forward and peering at us. A vague feeling of uneasiness began to steal over me. It was a quiet. throwing open another door. and then. the others being volumes of poetry. She spoke a few words in a foreign tongue in a tone as though asking a question. Colonel Stark laid down the lamp on the top of a harmonium beside the door. with a round table in the centre. little. whispered something in her ear. “‘Perhaps you will have the kindness to wait in this room for a few minutes. out-of-the-way place? And where was the place? I was ten miles or so from Eyford.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 257 and a woman appeared with a lamp in her hand. and when my companion answered in a gruff monosyllable she gave such a start that the lamp nearly fell from her hand. and from the gloss with which the light shone upon her dark dress I knew that it was a rich material.

were within that radius. ‘I have not yet done what I came for. the yellow light from my lamp beating upon her eager and beautiful face. no one hinders. ‘get away from here before it is too late!’ “But I am somewhat headstrong by nature. like those of a frightened horse.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 258 whether north. For that matter. The woman was standing in the aperture.’ “‘It is not worth your while to wait. and she shot a few whispered words of broken English at me. I paced up and down the room. with her hands wrung together. humming a tune under my breath to keep up my spirits and feeling that I was thoroughly earning my fifty-guinea fee. ‘I would go. and possibly other large towns. I should not stay here. “Suddenly. ‘For the love of Heaven!’ she whispered. seeing that I smiled and shook my head. south. the darkness of the hall behind her. as it seemed to me. after all. to speak calmly. I Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . she suddenly threw aside her constraint and made a step forward. and the sight sent a chill to my own heart.’ she went on. and the more ready to engage in an affair when there is some obstacle in the way. ‘You can pass through the door. or west I had no idea.’ And then. I could see at a glance that she was sick with fear. trying hard.’ said I.’ “‘But. east. She held up one shaking finger to warn me to be silent.’ said she. without any preliminary sound in the midst of the utter stillness. that we were in the country. into the gloom behind her. from the absolute stillness. her eyes glancing back. I cannot possibly leave until I have seen the machine. so the place might not be so secluded. madam. Yet it was quite certain. There is no good for you to do. “‘I would go. the door of my room swung slowly open. Reading.

’ “He shot one of his suspicious looks at me. and of the unpleasant night which seemed to be before me. therefore. All we wish you to do is to examine the machine and to let us know what is wrong with it. be a monomaniac. I was under the impression that I left this door shut just now. ‘I opened the door myself because I felt the room to be a little close.’ said he. threw up her hands with a despairing gesture.’ “‘What. who was introduced to me as Mr. I suppose.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 259 thought of my fifty-guinea fee. I fear that you have felt the draught. it is in the house. no. I still shook my head and declared my intention of remaining where I was.’ “‘I had better put my hat on. Ferguson.’ “‘On the contrary.’ said the colonel.’ “‘Oh. then. Was it all to go for nothing? Why should I slink away without having carried out my commission. ‘By the way.’ Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . But never mind that. This is only where we compress it. and vanished as suddenly and as noiselessly as she had come. “‘This is my secretary and manager. and the sound of several footsteps was heard upon the stairs. you dig fuller’s-earth in the house?’ “‘No. ‘Mr. though her manner had shaken me more than I cared to confess. Ferguson and I will take you up to see the machine. of my wearisome journey. “The newcomers were Colonel Lysander Stark and a short thick man with a chinchilla beard growing out of the creases of his double chin. and without the payment which was my due? This woman might. She listened for an instant. ‘Perhaps we had better proceed to business. With a stout bearing. for all I knew.’ said I. no. She was about to renew her entreaties when a door slammed overhead.

The ceiling of this small chamber is really the end of the descending piston. which he unlocked. and it would be a particularly unpleasant thing for us if anyone were to turn it on. but there is some stiffness in the working of it. the colonel first with the lamp. in which the three of us could hardly get at one time. It was a labyrinth of an old house. passages. with corridors. the thresholds of which were hollowed out by the generations who had crossed them. Perhaps you will have the goodness to look it over and to show us how we can set it right. narrow winding staircases. unhealthy blotches. but I could see from the little that he said that he was at least a fellow-countryman. while the plaster was peeling off the walls. and capable of exercising Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . There are small lateral columns of water outside which receive the force. “‘We are now. and it comes down with the force of many tons upon this metal floor. and the colonel ushered me in. and the damp was breaking through in green.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 260 “We went upstairs together. and I examined the machine very thoroughly. It was indeed a gigantic one. Ferguson remained outside. Within was a small. and little low doors. the fat manager and I behind him. even though I disregarded them. Ferguson appeared to be a morose and silent man. “Colonel Lysander Stark stopped at last before a low door. ‘actually within the hydraulic press.’ said he.’ “I took the lamp from him. square room. I tried to put on as unconcerned an air as possible. and I kept a keen eye upon my two companions. There were no carpets and no signs of any furniture above the ground floor. The machine goes readily enough. and which transmit and multiply it in the manner which is familiar to you. and it has lost a little of its force. but I had not forgotten the warnings of the lady.

‘I was admiring your fuller’s-earth. I returned to the main chamber of the machine and took a good look at it to satisfy my own curiosity. and when I came to examine it I could see a crust of metallic deposit all over it.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 261 enormous pressure. I knew at once by the whishing sound that there was a slight leakage. I had stooped and was scraping at this to see exactly what it was when I heard a muttered exclamation in German and saw the cadaverous face of the colonel looking down at me. When I had made it clear to them. and a baleful light sprang up in his grey eyes. An examination showed that one of the india-rubber bands which was round the head of a driving-rod had shrunk so as not quite to fill the socket along which it worked. “‘What are you doing there?’ he asked. which allowed a regurgitation of water through one of the side cylinders. but the floor consisted of a large iron trough. His face set hard. This was clearly the cause of the loss of power. however. “I felt angry at having been tricked by so elaborate a story as that which he had told me. When I passed outside. and pressed down the levers which controlled it. The walls were of wood. ‘I think that I should be better able to advise you as to your machine if I knew what the exact purpose was for which it was used.’ said I. for it would be absurd to suppose that so powerful an engine could be designed for so inadequate a purpose. It was obvious at a glance that the story of the fuller’s-earth was the merest fabrication. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .’ “The instant that I uttered the words I regretted the rashness of my speech. who followed my remarks very carefully and asked several practical questions as to how they should proceed to set it right. and I pointed it out to my companions.

jerkily. rough surface. ‘Hello! Colonel! Let me out!’ “And then suddenly in the silence I heard a sound which sent my heart into my mouth.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 262 “‘Very well.’ He took a step backward. had I the nerve to lie and look up at that deadly black shadow wavering down upon me? Already I was unable to stand erect. For an instant I could hardly believe that here was indeed a door Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Easier the other way. but the remorseless clanking of the levers drowned my cries.’ said he. and yet. with a force which must within a minute grind me to a shapeless pulp. and dragged with my nails at the lock. the walls were of wood. slowly. slammed the little door. He had set the engine at work. It was the clank of the levers and the swish of the leaking cylinder. which broadened and broadened as a small panel was pushed backward. and turned the key in the lock. as none knew better than myself. ‘Hello!’ I yelled. but it was quite secure. and with my hand upraised I could feel its hard. but. By its light I saw that the black ceiling was coming down upon me. I saw a thin line of yellow light between two of the boards. Then it flashed through my mind that the pain of my death would depend very much upon the position in which I met it. and I shuddered to think of that dreadful snap. perhaps. screaming. I rushed towards it and pulled at the handle. when my eye caught something which brought a gush of hope back to my heart. The lamp still stood upon the floor where I had placed it when examining the trough. and did not give in the least to my kicks and shoves. I implored the colonel to let me out. If I lay on my face the weight would come upon my spine. I threw myself. The ceiling was only a foot or two above my head. ‘you shall know all about the machine. As I gave a last hurried glance around. “I have said that though the floor and ceiling were of iron. against the door.

flung open the window. “I was recalled to myself by a frantic plucking at my wrist. through the window of which the moon was shining brightly. but it may be that you can jump it. The latter led to another broad passage. “‘It is your only chance. How quiet and sweet and Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . ‘It is high. and I saw the lean figure of Colonel Lysander Stark rushing forward with a lantern in one hand and a weapon like a butcher’s cleaver in the other. They will see that you are not there. but come!’ “This time. The panel had closed again behind me.’ “As she spoke a light sprang into view at the further end of the passage.’ said she.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 263 which led away from death. and I found myself lying upon the stone floor of a narrow corridor. and a few moments afterwards the clang of the two slabs of metal. “‘Come! come!’ she cried breathlessly. I staggered to my feet and ran with her along the corridor and down a winding stair. one answering the other from the floor on which we were and from the one beneath. while she held a candle in her right. but the crash of the lamp. and just as we reached it we heard the sound of running feet and the shouting of two voices. I rushed across the bedroom. at least. It was the same good friend whose warning I had so foolishly rejected. The next instant I threw myself through. My guide stopped and looked about her like one who is at her wit’s end. and looked out. Oh. do not waste the so-precious time. I did not scorn her advice. ‘They will be here in a moment. told me how narrow had been my escape. and lay half-fainting upon the other side. Then she threw open a door which led into a bedroom. while a woman bent over me and tugged at me with her left hand.

he will be silent!’ “‘You are mad. I clambered out upon the sill. I endeavoured to tie my handkerchief round it. and next moment I fell in a dead faint among the rosebushes. when his blow fell. however. I say!’ He dashed her to one side. for the first time. and. I glanced down at my hand. and was hanging by the hands to the sill. If she were ill-used. He will be silent! Oh. as I ran. but she threw her arms round him and tried to hold him back. and then. I had let myself go. “I was shaken but not hurt by the fall. “How long I remained unconscious I cannot tell. Let me pass. then at any risks I was determined to go back to her assistance. rushing to the window. ‘You will be the ruin of us. You said it should not be again. and it could not be more than thirty feet down. but there came a sudden buzzing in my ears. “‘Fritz! Fritz!’ she cried in English. which was throbbing painfully. I was conscious of a dull pain. The thought had hardly flashed through my mind before he was at the door. struggling to break away from her. so I picked myself up and rushed off among the bushes as hard as I could run. saw that my thumb had been cut off and that the blood was pouring from my wound. ‘remember your promise after the last time. Suddenly.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 264 wholesome the garden looked in the moonlight. It must have Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . but I hesitated to jump until I should have heard what passed between my saviour and the ruffian who pursued me. He has seen too much. and I fell into the garden below. a deadly dizziness and sickness came over me. cut at me with his heavy weapon. my grip loosened. for I understood that I was far from being out of danger yet. pushing his way past her. Elise!’ he shouted.

and I sprang to my feet with the feeling that I might hardly yet be safe from my pursuers. and then the doctor was kind enough to bring me along here. I had been lying in an angle of the hedge close by the highroad. and my coat-sleeve was drenched with blood from my wounded thumb. “Half dazed.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 265 been a very long time.” We both sat in silence for some little time after listening to this extraordinary narrative. There would be one to Reading in less than an hour. I went into the station and asked about the morning train. and a bright morning was breaking when I came to myself. he had not. It was a little past six when I arrived. as had been there when I arrived. Had he observed a carriage the night before waiting for me? No. all that had passed during those dreadful hours might have been an evil dream. when I came to look round me. so I went first to have my wound dressed. The same porter was on duty. I found. The smarting of it recalled in an instant all the particulars of my night’s adventure. My clothes were all sodden with dew. Was there a police-station anywhere near? There was one about three miles off. and just a little lower down was a long building. for the moon had sunk. to be the very station at which I had arrived upon the previous night. The name was strange to him. Then Sherlock Holmes pulled down from Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I put the case into your hands and shall do exactly what you advise. upon my approaching it. which proved. weak and ill as I was. Were it not for the ugly wound upon my hand. I determined to wait until I got back to town before telling my story to the police. I inquired of him whether he had ever heard of Colonel Lysander Stark. “It was too far for me to go. neither house nor garden were to be seen. But to my astonishment.

like those out-and-out pirates who will leave no survivor from a captured ship. The place we want must be somewhere near that line. a plain-clothes man. Jeremiah Hayling. “That circle is drawn at a radius of ten miles from the village.” said he. Listen to this: ‘Lost. etc. Was dressed in. “It appeared in all the papers about a year ago.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 266 the shelf one of the ponderous commonplace books in which he placed his cuttings. I think. “Then that explains what the girl said. of Scotland Yard. sir. Left his lodgings at ten o’clock at night. You said ten miles. and has not been heard of since. It is quite clear that the colonel was a cool and desperate man.” Some three hours or so afterwards we were all in the train together..” “It was an hour’s good drive. There were Sherlock Holmes. Inspector Bradstreet. Bradstreet had spread an ordnance map of the county out upon the seat and was busy with his compasses drawing a circle with Eyford for its centre. bound from Reading to the little Berkshire village. who was absolutely determined that nothing should stand in the way of his little game. “There you are. Well. and myself. I fancy. on the 9th inst. Ha! That represents the last time that the colonel needed to have his machine overhauled. Mr. aged twenty-six.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . so if you feel equal to it we shall go down to Scotland Yard at once as a preliminary to starting for Eyford.” “Good heavens!” cried my patient.” said he. every moment now is precious. the hydraulic engineer.. a hydraulic engineer.’ etc. “Here is an advertisement which will interest you.” “Undoubtedly.

” “Come.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 267 “And you think that they brought you back all that way when you were unconscious?” “They must have done so.” “But we can’t all be. “Well. Who do you give your casting vote to?” “You are all wrong. we shall see who agrees with you. “because there are no hills there.” “Oh. “There are several quiet little villages up there. and our friend says that he did not notice the carriage go up any. “This is where we shall find them. “I am for west. and I only wish I knew at what point upon it the folk that we are in search of are to be found. I have a confused memory.” “What I cannot understand. This is my point.” remarked the plain-clothes man. we shall soon clear up all that. of having been lifted and conveyed somewhere.” “And I am for north.” He placed his finger in the centre of the circle. you can.” “I think I could lay my finger on it. now!” cried the inspector.” cried the inspector.” “But the twelve-mile drive?” gasped Hatherley. We have boxed the compass among us. I never saw a more inexorable face in my life.” “I hardly think that likely. for the country is more deserted there.” “And I say east. yes. “Really. I have drawn my circle.” said Bradstreet.” said I.” said I. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “Oh. now.” said my patient. “it’s a very pretty diversity of opinion. laughing. too. “you have formed your opinion! Come. I say it is south.” said Holmes quietly. “is why they should have spared you when they found you lying fainting in the garden. Perhaps the villain was softened by the woman’s entreaties.

sir!” said the station-master. it is a likely ruse enough. We even traced them as far as Reading. “When did it break out?” “I hear that it was during the night. sir.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 268 “Six out and six back. for they had covered their traces in a way that showed that they were very old hands. But now. and the whole place is in a blaze. thanks to this lucky chance. “Of course there can be no doubt as to the nature of this gang. Becher’s. Nothing simpler. As we rolled into Eyford Station we saw a gigantic column of smoke which streamed up from behind a small clump of trees in the neighbourhood and hung like an immense ostrich feather over the landscape.” But the inspector was mistaken.” broke in the engineer. You say yourself that the horse was fresh and glossy when you got in. and have used the machine to form the amalgam which has taken the place of silver.” said the inspector.” “Whose house is it?” “Dr. How could it be that if it had gone twelve miles over heavy roads?” “Indeed.” “None at all. Becher a German. very Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I think that we have got them right enough. for those criminals were not destined to fall into the hands of justice. “They have been turning out half-crowns by the thousand. “A house on fire?” asked Bradstreet as the train steamed off again on its way. “Yes. but it has got worse. “They are coiners on a large scale.” “Tell me.” “We have known for some time that a clever gang was at work.” observed Bradstreet thoughtfully. “is Dr.” said Holmes. but could get no farther.

in intense excitement. sir. a patient. when it was crushed in the press. Dr. with a long. “There is the gravel-drive. the sinister German. “That’s it!” cried Hatherley. The road topped a low hill.” And Holmes’s fears came to be realized. “No. That second window is the one that I jumped from. who is a foreigner. and there isn’t a man in the parish who has a betterlined waistcoat.” said Holmes.” “Well. and there was a great widespread whitewashed building in front of us. and there are the rose-bushes where I lay. Now keep your eyes open in this crowd for your friends of last night. at least. “you have had your revenge upon them. but there all traces of the fugitives disappeared. But he has a gentleman staying with him.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 269 thin. Becher is an Englishman. for from that day to this no word has ever been heard either of the beautiful woman. as I understand. and even Holmes’s ingenuity failed ever to discover the least clew as to their Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . There can be no question that it was your oil-lamp which. though I very much fear that they are a good hundred miles off by now. though no doubt they were too excited in the chase after you to observe it at the time. or the morose Englishman. while in the garden in front three fire-engines were vainly striving to keep the flames under. Early that morning a peasant had met a cart containing several people and some very bulky boxes driving rapidly in the direction of Reading. sharp nose?” The station-master laughed heartily. and he looks as if a little good Berkshire beef would do him no harm.” The station-master had not finished his speech before we were all hastening in the direction of the fire. set fire to the wooden walls. spouting fire at every chink and window.

but no coins were to be found. save some twisted cylinders and iron piping. Large masses of nickel and of tin were discovered stored in an out-house. laughing. The firemen had been much perturbed at the strange arrangements which they had found within.” said Holmes. “Well. and still more so by discovering a newly severed human thumb upon a window-sill of the second floor. however. their efforts were at last successful. and they subdued the flames.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 270 whereabouts. About sunset. “Indirectly it may be of value. you have only to put it into words to gain the reputation of being excellent company for the remainder of your Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . but not before the roof had fallen in. and what have I gained?” “Experience. not a trace remained of the machinery which had cost our unfortunate acquaintance so dearly. one of whom had remarkably small feet and the other unusually large ones. had assisted the woman to bear the unconscious man out of the way of danger. being less bold or less murderous than his companion. which told us a very plain tale. “it has been a pretty business for me! I have lost my thumb and I have lost a fifty-guinea fee. He had evidently been carried down by two persons. you know. it was most probable that the silent Englishman. On the whole.” said our engineer ruefully as we took our seats to return once more to London. and the whole place been reduced to such absolute ruin that. How our hydraulic engineer had been conveyed from the garden to the spot where he recovered his senses might have remained forever a mystery were it not for the soft mould. which may have explained the presence of those bulky boxes which have been already referred to.

” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 271 existence.

As I have reason to believe. during the days when I was still sharing rooms with Holmes in Baker Street.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 272 Adventure 10. watching the huge crest and monogram upon the envelope upon the table and wondering lazily who my friend’s noble correspondent could be. I feel that no memoir of him would be complete without some little sketch of this remarkable episode.” I remarked as he entered. were from a fish- T Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . I had surrounded myself with a cloud of newspapers until at last. for the weather had taken a sudden turn to rain. that the full facts have never been revealed to the general public. and their more piquant details have drawn the gossips away from this four-year-old drama. and as my friend Sherlock Holmes had a considerable share in clearing the matter up. if I remember right. however. Fresh scandals have eclipsed it. THE ADVENTURE OF THE NOBLE BACHELOR he Lord St. have long ceased to be a subject of interest in those exalted circles in which the unfortunate bridegroom moves. “Your morning letters. I tossed them all aside and lay listless. With my body in one easy-chair and my legs upon another. saturated with the news of the day. that he came home from an afternoon stroll to find a letter on the table waiting for him. I had remained indoors all day. with high autumnal winds. It was a few weeks before my own marriage. “Here is a very fashionable epistle. and its curious termination. Simon marriage. and the Jezail bullet which I had brought back in one of my limbs as a relic of my Afghan campaign throbbed with dull persistence.

The latter is always instructive.” “It is fortunate. after all. The letter which I hold in my hand is from Lord St. I read nothing except the criminal news and the agony column. This is what he says: Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “That is well. distinctly professional. “Oh. and in return you must turn over these papers and let me have whatever bears upon the matter.” he answered. But if you have followed recent events so closely you must have read about Lord St. Simon and his wedding?” “Oh. You have been reading the papers diligently of late. have you not?” “It looks like it.” “My dear fellow.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 273 monger and a tide-waiter. yes. that that also may not be wanting in this new investigation. “and the humbler are usually the more interesting.” “And from a noble client?” “One of the highest in England. I will read it to you. Watson. I congratulate you. however. Simon. for you will perhaps be able to post me up.” “I assure you.” “Not social. my correspondence has certainly the charm of variety. pointing to a huge bundle in the corner. without affectation. “I have had nothing else to do. come. It is just possible. smiling. This looks like one of those unwelcome social summonses which call upon a man either to be bored or to lie.” “Yes. that the status of my client is a matter of less moment to me than the interest of his case.” said I ruefully. then?” “No.” He broke the seal and glanced over the contents. with the deepest interest. it may prove to be something of interest.

second son of the Duke of Balmoral. with your assistance. ST. I hope that you will postpone it. of Scotland Yard. Born in 1846. Hum! Arms: Azure. Mr. and that he even thinks that it might be of some assistance. to call upon you and to consult you in reference to the very painful event which has occurred in connection with my wedding. Yours faithfully.” remarked Holmes as he folded up the epistle. therefore. SHERLOCK HOLMES:—Lord Backwater tells me that I may place implicit reliance upon your judgment and discretion. I will call at four o’clock in the afternoon. “Here he is. should you have any other engagement at that time. He’s forty-one years of age. “Lord Robert Walsingham de Vere St. while I take a glance as to who our client is. Simon. to get clear upon the subject.’ “It is dated from Grosvenor Mansions. sitting down and flattening it out upon his knee. SIMON. three caltrops in chief over a fess sable. written with a quill pen. as this matter is of paramount importance. He will be here in an hour. and the noble lord has had the misfortune to get a smear of ink upon the outer side of his right little finger. which is mature for marriage. I have determined.” said he. Turn over those papers and arrange the extracts in their order of time. Was UnderArthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” He picked a red-covered volume from a line of books of reference beside the mantelpiece. but he assures me that he sees no objection to your co-operation. Lestrade. “He says four o’clock. and.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 274 “‘MY DEAR MR.” “Then I have just time. It is three now. is acting already in the matter.

for something more solid. here it is: ‘There will soon be a call for protection in the marriage market. and dates.” said I. Ha! Well. Esq.A. there is nothing very instructive in all this. his father. it was obvious from the first. some weeks back: ‘A marriage has been arranged.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 275 Secretary for the colonies in a late administration. if rumour is correct. “for the facts are quite recent. between Lord Robert St. “There was a paragraph amplifying this in one of the society papers of the same week.’ it says. I think that I must turn to you Watson.. thin legs towards the fire. as I knew that you had an inquiry on hand and that you disliked the intrusion of other matters. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . as you see.” remarked Holmes. for the present free-trade principle appears to tell heavily against our home product. Pray give me the results of your newspaper selections. and the matter struck me as remarkable.. It is in the personal column of the Morning Post.” “I have very little difficulty in finding what I want.” “Here is the first notice which I can find. ‘and will. was at one time Secretary for Foreign Affairs. One by one the management of the noble houses of Great Britain is passing into the hands of our fair cousins from across the Atlantic. Cal. Simon. Ah. U. indeed. That is quite cleared up now—though. second son of the Duke of Balmoral. I feared to refer them to you. you mean the little problem of the Grosvenor Square furniture van. They inherit Plantagenet blood by direct descent. the only daughter of Aloysius Doran. and Miss Hatty Doran.” “Terse and to the point. The Duke. of San Francisco. and Tudor on the distaff side. stretching his long.’ That is all.” “Oh.S. however. very shortly take place.

is an only child.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 276 An important addition has been made during the last week to the list of the prizes which have been borne away by these charming invaders. Then there is another note in the Morning Post to say that the mariage would be an absolutely quiet one. on Wednesday last— there is a curt announcement that the wedding had taken place. whose graceful figure and striking face attracted much attention at the Westbury House festivities. Those are all the notices which appeared before the disappearance of the bride.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “The vanishing of the lady. Simon has no property of his own save the small estate of Birchmoor. and that the honeymoon would be passed at Lord Backwater’s place. Miss Doran. yawning. As it is an open secret that the Duke of Balmoral has been compelled to sell his pictures within the last few years. that it would be at St. plenty. George’s.” “Before the what?” asked Holmes with a start. and as Lord St. the fascinating daughter of a California millionaire. with expectancies for the future. that only half a dozen intimate friends would be invited. has now definitely announced his approaching marriage with Miss Hatty Doran. yes. who has shown himself for over twenty years proof against the little god’s arrows. Two days later—that is. Aloysius Doran.’” “Anything else?” asked Holmes. Lord St. “Oh. and it is currently reported that her dowry will run to considerably over the six figures. and that the party would return to the furnished house at Lancaster Gate which has been taken by Mr. near Petersfield. Hanover Square. Simon. it is obvious that the Californian heiress is not the only gainer by an alliance which will enable her to make the easy and common transition from a Republican lady to a British peeress.

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 277 “When did she vanish. It is headed. “‘The ceremony. The whole party proceeded afterwards to the house Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Simon has been thrown into the greatest consternation by the strange and painful episodes which have taken place in connection with his wedding. and Lady Alicia Whittington. as shortly announced in the papers of yesterday.” “Perhaps we may make them less so. Mr. but I cannot call to mind anything quite so prompt as this. This is more interesting than it promised to be. ‘Singular Occurrence at a Fashionable Wedding’: “‘The family of Lord Robert St. was a very quiet one.” “Yes. in fact.” “I warn you that they are very incomplete. Hanover Square. the Duchess of Balmoral. Lord Backwater. which I will read to you. which was performed at St. quite dramatic. The ceremony. George’s. they are set forth in a single article of a morning paper of yesterday. it struck me as being a little out of the common. occurred on the previous morning. Simon (the younger brother and sister of the bridegroom).” “Indeed. no one being present save the father of the bride. and occasionally during the honeymoon. Aloysius Doran. Lord Eustace. but it is only now that it has been possible to confirm the strange rumours which have been so persistently floating about. and Lady Clara St. Pray let me have the details. In spite of the attempts of the friends to hush the matter up. then?” “At the wedding breakfast. so much public attention has now been drawn to it that no good purpose can be served by affecting to disregard what is a common subject for conversation.” “Such as they are.” “They often vanish before the ceremony.

and it is said that the police have caused the arrest of the woman who had caused the original disturbance. however. who had fortunately entered the house before this unpleasant interruption. in conjunction with the bridegroom. alleging that she had some claim upon Lord St. Her prolonged absence having caused some comment. and hurried down to the passage.’” “And is that all?” “Only one little item in another of the morning papers. from jealousy or some other motive. in the belief that. Aloysius Doran. but learned from her maid that she had only come up to her chamber for an instant. One of the footmen declared that he had seen a lady leave the house thus apparelled. nothing had transpired as to the whereabouts of the missing lady. It appears that some little trouble was caused by a woman. but it is Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . believing her to be with the company. who endeavoured to force her way into the house after the bridal party. which will probably result in a speedy clearing up of this very singular business. whose name has not been ascertained. when she complained of a sudden indisposition and retired to her room. at Lancaster Gate. had sat down to breakfast with the rest. Simon. Aloysius Doran. It was only after a painful and prolonged scene that she was ejected by the butler and the footman. caught up an ulster and bonnet. but had refused to credit that it was his mistress. and very energetic inquiries are being made. where breakfast had been prepared. her father followed her. Up to a late hour last night. The bride.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 278 of Mr. instantly put themselves in communication with the police. On ascertaining that his daughter had disappeared. There are rumours of foul play in the matter. she may have been concerned in the strange disappearance of the bride. Mr.

with high collar. throwing open the door. turning his head from left to right. the lady who had caused the disturbance. well-opened eye of a man whose pleasant lot it had ever been to command and to be obeyed. As to his dress. with a pleasant. A gentleman entered. Do not dream of going. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . His hair. and with the steady. white waistcoat. for he had a slight forward stoop and a little bend of the knees as he walked. and the whole case is in your hands now—so far as it has been set forth in the public press. But there is a ring at the bell.” “Lord Robert St. There are no further particulars. black frock-coat. and as the clock makes it a few minutes after four. with something perhaps of petulance about the mouth. too. and yet his general appearance gave an undue impression of age. I would not have missed it for worlds.” announced our page-boy. and that she has known the bridegroom for some years. as he swept off his very curly-brimmed hat. and light-coloured gaiters. if only as a check to my own memory. Watson. I have no doubt that this will prove to be our noble client.” “And an exceedingly interesting case it appears to be. patent-leather shoes. for I very much prefer having a witness. it was careful to the verge of foppishness. cultured face.” “And it is—” “That Miss Flora Millar. was grizzled round the edges and thin upon the top. It appears that she was formerly a danseuse at the Allegro. Watson.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 279 a suggestive one. high-nosed and pale. Simon. and swinging in his right hand the cord which held his golden eyeglasses. has actually been arrested. yellow gloves. His manner was brisk. He advanced slowly into the room.

I think that I may arrive at my facts most directly by questioning you. for example. As to my own case.” said Holmes suavely. nothing more.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 280 “Good-day. though I presume that they were hardly from the same class of society. I have already learned all that is in the public prints.” “Of course! Very right! very right! I’m sure I beg pardon. really! I had no idea. Holmes. I am ready to give you any information which may assist you in forming an opinion. This is my friend and colleague.” “Oh. Watson. Simon. I presume that I may take it as correct— this article. I am descending.” “No. and we will talk this matter over. I have been cut to the quick. as far as it goes. as to the disappearance of the bride. And which king?” “The King of Scandinavia. rising and bowing.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Mr. I understand that you have already managed several delicate cases of this sort sir. Lord St. Draw up a little to the fire. “Pray take the basket-chair.” said Holmes. “Yes.” “A most painful matter to me. Simon glanced over it.” “What! Had he lost his wife?” “You can understand. “that I extend to the affairs of my other clients the same secrecy which I promise to you in yours.” “Thank you. it is correct.” Lord St. Dr. as you can most readily imagine.” “But it needs a great deal of supplementing before anyone could offer an opinion.” “My last client of the sort was a king.” “I beg pardon.

She is impetuous—volcanic.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 281 “Pray do so. what is your own impression as to the young lady’s— your wife’s character?” The nobleman swung his glasses a little faster and stared down into the fire. so that her education has come from Nature rather than from the schoolmaster. He had nothing a few years ago.” “When did you first meet Miss Hatty Doran?” “In San Francisco. and came up by leaps and bounds. I was about to say. Then he struck gold. “my wife was twenty before her father became a rich man.” “But you were on a friendly footing?” “I was amused by her society.” “And how did he make his money?” “In mining.” “Her father is very rich?” “He is said to be the richest man on the Pacific slope. unfettered by any sort of traditions. I Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . wild and free.” “Now. “You see.” “Did you become engaged then?” “No. and she could see that I was amused. Mr.” said he. Holmes. invested it. I would not have given her the name which I have the honour to bear”—he gave a little stately cough—“had not I thought her to be at bottom a noble woman. with a strong nature. She is swift in making up her mind and fearless in carrying out her resolutions. On the other hand. During that time she ran free in a mining camp and wandered through woods or mountains.” “You were travelling in the States?” “Yes. a year ago. She is what we call in England a tomboy.

Then he closed the locket and handed it back to Lord St.” He opened a locket and showed us the full face of a very lovely woman. Not more than is usual in my family. since the marriage is a fait accompli?” “I really have made no inquiries on the subject. then.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 282 believe that she is capable of heroic self-sacrifice and that anything dishonourable would be repugnant to her. and have now married her. And on the morning of the wedding?” “She was as bright as possible—at least until after the ceremony. “The young lady came to London. remains to you. and you renewed your acquaintance?” “Yes. It was not a photograph but an ivory miniature. I understand. Simon.” “And this.” “Have you her photograph?” “I brought this with me. and the artist had brought out the full effect of the lustrous black hair. a considerable dowry?” “A fair dowry.” “Was she in good spirits?” “Never better.” “She brought.” “Very naturally not. She kept talking of what we should do in our future lives. of course. I met her several times. her father brought her over for this last London season. and the exquisite mouth. Did you see Miss Doran on the day before the wedding?” “Yes.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “Indeed! That is very interesting. Holmes gazed long and earnestly at it. became engaged to her. the large dark eyes.

” “Pray let us have it. There was a moment’s delay.” “Oh. The incident however. What did she do on re-entering her father’s house?” “I saw her in conversation with her maid. She dropped her bouquet as we went towards the vestry. Some of the general public were present. but the gentleman in the pew handed it up to her again. It is impossible to exclude them when the church is open. Simon. But really I think that we are wandering rather far from the point. I saw then the first signs that I had ever seen that her temper was just a little sharp. I hardly noticed his appearance. she seemed absurdly agitated over this trifling cause.” “And who is her maid?” “Alice is her name.” “Lady St. no. returned from the wedding in a less cheerful frame of mind than she had gone to it. then?” “Oh.” “This gentleman was not one of your wife’s friends?” “No.” “A confidential servant?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and it did not appear to be the worse for the fall.” “Indeed! You say that there was a gentleman in the pew. I call him a gentleman by courtesy. She was passing the front pew at the time. and it fell over into the pew. on our way home. yes.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 283 “And did you observe any change in her then?” “Well. and in the carriage. Yet when I spoke to her of the matter. she answered me abruptly. then. to tell the truth. but he was quite a common-looking person. She is an American and came from California with her. was too trivial to relate and can have no possible bearing upon the case. it is childish. for all that.

she rose hurriedly. “We have been on a friendly footing for some years—I may say on a very friendly footing. Alice. and who had already made a disturbance at Mr. I should like a few particulars as to this young lady. after we had sat down for ten minutes or so. of course. Simon shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyebrows. a woman who is now in custody.” “You did not overhear what they said?” “Lady St. She used to be at the Allegro. I had something else to think of. Still. deposes that she went to her room. It seemed to me that her mistress allowed her to take great liberties.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 284 “A little too much so. Then. I Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . And what did your wife do when she finished speaking to her maid?” “She walked into the breakfast-room. in America they look upon these things in a different way. and left the room. yes.” “But this maid. She was very independent in little matters like that. I have no idea what she meant. covered her bride’s dress with a long ulster. And she was afterwards seen walking into Hyde Park in company with Flora Millar. put on a bonnet. muttered some words of apology.’ She was accustomed to use slang of the kind. and went out.” “On your arm?” “No. alone.” “American slang is very expressive sometimes.” “Ah. a few minutes. Simon said something about ‘jumping a claim.” “Quite so.” “How long did she speak to this Alice?” “Oh. and your relations to her. She never came back. as I understand.” Lord St. Doran’s house that morning.

Flora was a dear little thing. however. She came to Mr. of Scotland Yard. too?” “I did not say a probable one. I came to seek a theory. to tell the truth. not to propound one. It is thought that Flora decoyed my wife out and laid some terrible trap for her. uttering very abusive expressions towards my wife. she did not. But you do not yourself look upon this as likely?” “I do not think Flora would hurt a fly. jealousy is a strange transformer of characters. and I had two police fellows there in private clothes. but you know what women are. and she had no just cause of complaint against me. Since you ask me. Doran’s door just after we returned. Lestrade.” “Still. That is what Mr. thank goodness. Pray what is your own theory as to what took place?” “Well. who soon pushed her out again.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 285 have not treated her ungenerously.” “And she was seen walking with this very woman afterwards?” “Yes.” “Well. She wrote me dreadful letters when she heard that I was about to be married. and even threatening her. really.” “You think so. but exceedingly hot-headed and devotedly attached to me. and she endeavoured to push her way in. She was quiet when she saw that there was no good in making a row. looks upon as so serious.” “Did your wife hear all this?” “No. but I had foreseen the possibility of something of the sort. Mr. the reason why I had the marriage celebrated so quietly was that I feared lest there might be a scandal in the church. I have given you all the facts. it is a possible supposition. and. I may say that it has occurred to me as possible that the excitement of this Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Holmes.

I had formed my conclusions as to the case before our client came into the room. May I ask whether you were seated at the breakfast-table so that you could see out of the window?” “We could see the other side of the road and the Park. “I have solved it.” said Sherlock Holmes. and bowing in a stately. rising. “And now. the consciousness that she had made so immense a social stride. laughing. Lord St. “I think that I shall have a whisky and soda and a cigar after all this cross-questioning. Simon. had the effect of causing some little nervous disturbance in my wife.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “Should you be fortunate enough to solve this problem. I shall communicate with you. smiling.” he remarked. “It is very good of Lord St. Simon to honour my head by putting it on a level with his own.” “Quite so. Then I do not think that I need to detain you longer.” “Eh? What was that?” “I say that I have solved it.” said our client.” said Holmes. old-fashioned manner he departed. but upon so much that many have aspired to without success—I can hardly explain it in any other fashion. that she had become suddenly deranged?” “Well. is my wife?” “That is a detail which I shall speedily supply. when I consider that she has turned her back—I will not say upon me.” “Where. “I am afraid that it will take wiser heads than yours or mine. then. Simon shook his head. certainly that is also a conceivable hypothesis. really.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 286 affair.” “Well.” Lord St. I think that I have nearly all my data.” “In short.

With a short greeting he seated himself and lit the cigar which had been offered to him.” “In heaven’s name. then?” asked Holmes with a twinkle in his eye. Simon marriage case.” “Without. My whole examination served to turn my conjecture into a certainty. what for?” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “Really! You surprise me. and there are cigars in the box.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 287 “My dear Holmes!” “I have notes of several similar cases. here is Lestrade! Good-afternoon. “You look dissatisfied.” said Holmes laying his hand upon the arm of the pea-jacket.” The official detective was attired in a pea-jacket and cravat. hello. and he carried a black canvas bag in his hand.” “But I have heard all that you have heard. which were quite as prompt.” “And I feel dissatisfied. however. Circumstantial evidence is occasionally very convincing.” “And very wet it seems to have made you. which gave him a decidedly nautical appearance. the knowledge of pre-existing cases which serves me so well. I have been at work upon it all day. to quote Thoreau’s example. It is this infernal St. as I remarked before.” “Who ever heard of such a mixed affair? Every clew seems to slip through my fingers. Lestrade! You will find an extra tumbler upon the sideboard. I can make neither head nor tail of the business. as when you find a trout in the milk. There was a parallel instance in Aberdeen some years back. though none. “Yes. I have been dragging the Serpentine. “What’s up. It is one of these cases— but. and something on very much the same lines at Munich the year after the Franco-Prussian War.

a pair of white satin shoes and a bride’s wreath and veil. “There.” “Oh.” “Then perhaps you will kindly explain how it is that we found this in it?” He opened his bag as he spoke.” Lestrade shot an angry glance at my companion. “Why? What do you mean?” “Because you have just as good a chance of finding this lady in the one as in the other.” “By the same brilliant reasoning. They have been identified as her clothes. “You dragged them from the Serpentine?” “No.” he snarled.” said he.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 288 “In search of the body of Lady St. and tumbled onto the floor a wedding-dress of watered silk.” Sherlock Holmes leaned back in his chair and laughed heartily. and it seemed to me that if the clothes were there the body would not be far off. Simon. “There is a little nut for you to crack. “Well. blowing blue rings into the air. They were found floating near the margin by a parkkeeper. Master Holmes. indeed!” said my friend. And pray what did you hope to arrive at through this?” “At some evidence implicating Flora Millar in the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . indeed! Then you think that the Serpentine plays no part in the matter?” “I think it very unlikely. all discoloured and soaked in water. “I suppose you know all about it. “Have you dragged the basin of Trafalgar Square fountain?” he asked.” “Oh. every man’s body is to be found in the neighbourhood of his wardrobe. putting a new wedding-ring upon the top of the pile. I have only just heard the facts. but my mind is made up.

” “And how?” “In the dress is a pocket.’ Now my theory all along has been that Lady St. Holmes. Here. signed with her initials. that you are not very practical with your deductions and your inferences. now?” cried Lestrade with some bitterness. This dress does implicate Miss Flora Millar. this is the right side. Come at once. but his attention instantly became riveted.” he shrieked. with confederates. and that she.” said he.” Lestrade rose in his triumph and bent his head to look. and he gave a little cry of satisfaction. no doubt. “Listen to this: ‘You will see me when all is ready. laughing. “I am afraid. Lestrade. is the very note which was no doubt quietly slipped into her hand at the door and which lured her within their reach. In the pocket is a card-case. which interests me deeply. You have made two blunders in as many minutes. “This is indeed important. I congratulate you warmly. Let me see it.M.” “And over here is what appears to be the fragment of a hotel bill.” He took up the paper in a listless way.” He slapped it down upon the table in front of him. was responsible for her disappearance.” “The right side? You’re mad! Here is the note written in pencil over here. “you’re looking at the wrong side!” “On the contrary. indeed.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 289 disappearance. “Why.H.” “I am afraid that you will find it difficult. “Ha! you find it so?” “Extremely so.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “Are you. “You really are very fine indeed. F.” “Very good. And here is the very note. Simon was decoyed away by Flora Millar. In the card-case is a note.” said Holmes.

and there never has been. it is important also. “There is something in what the fellow says about outdoor work. so I congratulate you again. and hurried away.” It was after five o’clock when Sherlock Holmes left me. Watson.” “Very likely not. any such person. There is not. a quite Epicurean little cold supper began to be laid out upon our humble lodging-house mahogany. that I must leave you to your papers for a little. “Just one hint to you. lunch 2s. 4th. Lady St. I looked at it before. Then he turned to me. tapped his forehead three times.” drawled Holmes before his rival vanished.. It is most important.’ I see nothing in that. a Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” he remarked. for within an hour there arrived a confectioner’s man with a very large flat box. rising. thrust them into the bag. and presently.” He gathered up the garments. Simon is a myth. 8d. 6d. but I had no time to be lonely.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 290 “There’s nothing in it.” “I’ve wasted time enough. glass sherry.” Lestrade looked sadly at my companion. “I believe in hard work and not in sitting by the fire spinning fine theories. Good-day. He had hardly shut the door behind him when Holmes rose to put on his overcoat. rooms 8s. shook his head solemnly. or at least the initials are. “I will tell you the true solution of the matter. As to the note. This he unpacked with the help of a youth whom he had brought with him.. “so I think. Holmes. There were a couple of brace of cold woodcock. all the same. to my very great astonishment.” said Lestrade. Lestrade. Mr.. cocktail 1s.” said Lestrade. and we shall see which gets to the bottom of the matter first. “‘Oct. and made for the door. 6d.. breakfast 2s.

Simon has not already arrived. and with a very perturbed expression upon his aristocratic features. like the genii of the Arabian Nights.” Lord St. and I confess that the contents startled me beyond measure.” It was indeed our visitor of the afternoon who came bustling in. “You seem to expect company.” “I fail to see that anyone is to blame.” he said. I can hardly see how the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . a pate de foie gras pie with a group of ancient and cobwebby bottles. “What will the Duke say. “I am surprised that Lord St. I fancy we may have some company dropping in.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 291 pheasant.” “Yes. Simon sank into a chair and passed his hand over his forehead. His features were gravely set. “when he hears that one of the family has been subjected to such humiliation?” “It is the purest accident. “They have laid the supper. you look on these things from another standpoint. with no explanation save that the things had been paid for and were ordered to this address. Have you good authority for what you say?” “The best possible. then. They have laid for five. Having laid out all these luxuries. I cannot allow that there is any humiliation. my two visitors vanished away.” he murmured. “ “Ah. then?” asked Holmes. “Yes. Ha! I fancy that I hear his step now upon the stairs. but there was a light in his eye which made me think that he had not been disappointed in his conclusions.” said he. “My messenger reached you. Just before nine o’clock Sherlock Holmes stepped briskly into the room. rubbing his hands. dangling his glasses more vigorously than ever.

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 292 lady could have acted otherwise. a public slight. she had no one to advise her at such a crisis.” At the sight of these newcomers our client had sprung from his seat and stood very erect. “Oh. yes. “You must make allowance for this poor girl. Simon. though her abrupt method of doing it was undoubtedly to be regretted. It was as well for his resolution. perhaps.” said he “allow me to introduce you to Mr. “You’re angry. and I have been shamefully used. placed in so unprecedented a position. for her pleading face was one which it was hard to resist. Simon. I know that I have treated you real bad and that I should have spoken to you before I went. If I cannot persuade you to take a lenient view of the matter.” said she. Robert. but he still refused to raise his eyes.” “Pray make no apology to me. I think. with his eyes cast down and his hand thrust into the breast of his frock-coat. Francis Hay Moulton.” “I will make no allowance. Simon. I have brought an advocate here who may be more successful.” said Lord St. The lady. Having no mother. Simon bitterly. I guess you have every cause to be. but I was kind of rattled. tapping his fingers upon the table.” He opened the door and ushered in a lady and gentleman.” said Holmes. “Lord St. and from the time when I saw Frank here again I just didn’t know Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . you have already met. “Well.” “I think that I heard a ring. sir. there are steps on the landing. I am very angry indeed. The lady had taken a quick step forward and had held out her hand to him.” said Lord St. Lord St.” “It was a slight. and Mrs. “Yes. a picture of offended dignity.

“Then I’ll tell our story right away.” He was a small. Moulton. and he saw me without pa knowing anything about it. Frank said that he would go and make his pile.” said the lady. then. and he took me away to ’Frisco. cleanshaven. Frank and I. The richer pa grew the poorer was Frank. so he followed me there. in McQuire’s camp. We were engaged to each other. near the Rockies.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 293 what I was doing or saying. and never come back to claim me until he had as much as pa. For my part. I only wonder I didn’t fall down and do a faint right there before the altar. “we’ve had just a little too much secrecy over this business already. so at last pa wouldn’t hear of our engagement lasting any longer. and then Frank went off to seek his fortune. with a clergyman all ready in waiting. “Frank here and I met in ’84. too. So then I promised to wait for him to the end of time and pledged myself not to marry anyone else while he lived. that we just did it right there. sunburnt man. so we just fixed it all up for ourselves. where pa was working a claim. we talked it over. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . you would like my friend and me to leave the room while you explain this matter?” “If I may give an opinion. and he had fixed it all up so nicely. though. Frank wouldn’t throw up his hand. ‘and then I will feel sure of you. with a sharp face and alert manner. and I won’t claim to be your husband until I come back?’ Well. wiry. It would only have made him mad to know. but then one day father struck a rich pocket and made a pile.” remarked the strange gentleman. ‘Why shouldn’t we be married right away.’ said he. and I went back to pa. while poor Frank here had a claim that petered out and came to nothing.” “Perhaps. I should like all Europe and America to hear the rights of it. Mrs.

After that came a long newspaper story about how a miners’ camp had been attacked by Apache Indians. We can’t command our love. But you may imagine what I felt when. I fainted dead away. with a kind of question in his eyes. Then I saw him scribble on a piece of paper.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 294 “The next I heard of Frank was that he was in Montana. I wonder I didn’t drop. if I had married Lord St. and he seemed to know what I was thinking. Simon. and then he went prospecting in Arizona. and I knew that he was writing me a note. Simon came to ’Frisco. “Still. Not a word of news came for a year and more. I went to the altar with him with the intention to make him just as good a wife as it was in me to be. and a marriage was arranged. I glanced back and saw Frank standing and looking at me out of the first pew. so that I never doubted that Frank was really dead. but I felt all the time that no man on this earth would ever take the place in my heart that had been given to my poor Frank. and we came to London. I thought it was his ghost at first. As I passed his pew on the way out I dropped my bouquet over to him. and pa was very pleased. and I was very sick for months after. Should I stop the service and make a scene in the church? I glanced at him again. but when I looked again there he was still. just as I came to the altar rails. and then I heard of him from New Mexico. of course I’d have done my duty by him. for he raised his finger to his lips to tell me to be still. and there was my Frank’s name among the killed. and the words of the clergyman were just like the buzz of a bee in my ear. and he slipped the note into my Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Then Lord St. I know that everything was turning round. but we can our actions. Pa thought I had a decline and took me to half the doctors in ’Frisco. as if to ask me whether I were glad or sorry to see him. I didn’t know what to do.

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 295 hand when he returned me the flowers. but it was dreadful hard before his mother and all those great people. I slipped out. I just made up my mind to run away and explain afterwards. came on to ’Frisco.” explained the American. and that was my true wedding after all those years of waiting. and had come upon me at last on the very morning of my second wedding.” “I saw it in a paper. who had known him in California. He beckoned to me and then began walking into the Park. Some woman came talking something or other about Lord St. Simon. Of course I never doubted for a moment that my first duty was now to him. and followed him. I hadn’t been at the table ten minutes before I saw Frank out of the window at the other side of the road. “When I got back I told my maid. followed me there. Frank had been a prisoner among the Apaches. “It gave the name and the church but not where the lady lived. found that I had given him up for dead and had gone to England. We got into a cab together. put on my things. but to get a few things packed and my ulster ready. and Frank was all for openness. It was only a line asking me to join him when he made the sign to me to do so.” “Then we had a talk as to what we should do. I know I ought to have spoken to Lord St. but I was so ashamed of it all that I felt as if I should like to vanish away and never see any of them again—just sending Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and away we drove to some lodgings he had taken in Gordon Square. and I determined to do just whatever he might direct. I ordered her to say nothing. had escaped. and had always been his friend. Simon to me—seemed to me from the little I heard as if he had a little secret of his own before marriage also—but I managed to get away from her and soon overtook Frank.

Now. certainly. but had listened with a frowning brow and a compressed lip to this long narrative. Simon alone. came round to us this evening. “but it is not my custom to discuss my most intimate personal affairs in this public manner. “Excuse me. “I had hoped. perhaps.” he said. “that you would have joined us in a friendly supper.” “I think that there you ask a little too much.” He put out his hand and coldly grasped that which she extended to him. if it would give you any pleasure. Holmes. and I am very sorry if I have given you pain. and he showed us very clearly and kindly that I was wrong and that Frank was right. Mr.” Lord St. It was awful to me to think of all those lords and ladies sitting round that breakfast-table and waiting for me to come back. but I can hardly be expected to make merry over Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . you have heard it all. to show him that I was alive. “I may be forced to acquiesce in these recent developments.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 296 a line to pa. Robert. Simon had by no means relaxed his rigid attitude.” responded his Lordship. though how he found us is more than I can think. It is likely that we should have gone on to Paris to-morrow. Then he offered to give us a chance of talking to Lord St. and so we came right away round to his rooms at once. and I hope that you do not think very meanly of me. so that I should not be traced. only that this good gentleman. and dropped them away somewhere where no one could find them.” suggested Holmes. So Frank took my wedding-clothes and things and made a bundle of them. and that we should be putting ourselves in the wrong if we were so secret.” “Then you won’t forgive me? You won’t shake hands before I go?” “Oh.

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them. I think that with your permission I will now wish you all a very good-night.” He included us all in a sweeping bow and stalked out of the room. “Then I trust that you at least will honour me with your company,” said Sherlock Holmes. “It is always a joy to meet an American, Mr. Moulton, for I am one of those who believe that the folly of a monarch and the blundering of a minister in far-gone years will not prevent our children from being some day citizens of the same world-wide country under a flag which shall be a quartering of the Union Jack with the Stars and Stripes.” “The case has been an interesting one,” remarked Holmes when our visitors had left us, “because it serves to show very clearly how simple the explanation may be of an affair which at first sight seems to be almost inexplicable. Nothing could be more natural than the sequence of events as narrated by this lady, and nothing stranger than the result when viewed, for instance by Mr. Lestrade, of Scotland Yard.” “You were not yourself at fault at all, then?” “From the first, two facts were very obvious to me, the one that the lady had been quite willing to undergo the wedding ceremony, the other that she had repented of it within a few minutes of returning home. Obviously something had occurred during the morning, then, to cause her to change her mind. What could that something be? She could not have spoken to anyone when she was out, for she had been in the company of the bridegroom. Had she seen someone, then? If she had, it must be someone from America because she had spent so short a time in this country that she could hardly have allowed anyone to acquire so deep an influence over her that the mere sight of him would induce her to
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change her plans so completely. You see we have already arrived, by a process of exclusion, at the idea that she might have seen an American. Then who could this American be, and why should he possess so much influence over her? It might be a lover; it might be a husband. Her young womanhood had, I knew, been spent in rough scenes and under strange conditions. So far I had got before I ever heard Lord St. Simon’s narrative. When he told us of a man in a pew, of the change in the bride’s manner, of so transparent a device for obtaining a note as the dropping of a bouquet, of her resort to her confidential maid, and of her very significant allusion to claim-jumping—which in miners’ parlance means taking possession of that which another person has a prior claim to—the whole situation became absolutely clear. She had gone off with a man, and the man was either a lover or was a previous husband— the chances being in favour of the latter.” “And how in the world did you find them?” “It might have been difficult, but friend Lestrade held information in his hands the value of which he did not himself know. The initials were, of course, of the highest importance, but more valuable still was it to know that within a week he had settled his bill at one of the most select London hotels.” “How did you deduce the select?” “By the select prices. Eight shillings for a bed and eight-pence for a glass of sherry pointed to one of the most expensive hotels. There are not many in London which charge at that rate. In the second one which I visited in Northumberland Avenue, I learned by an inspection of the book that Francis H. Moulton, an American gentleman, had left only the day before, and on looking over the entries against him, I came upon the very items which I
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had seen in the duplicate bill. His letters were to be forwarded to 226 Gordon Square; so thither I travelled, and being fortunate enough to find the loving couple at home, I ventured to give them some paternal advice and to point out to them that it would be better in every way that they should make their position a little clearer both to the general public and to Lord St. Simon in particular. I invited them to meet him here, and, as you see, I made him keep the appointment.” “But with no very good result,” I remarked. “His conduct was certainly not very gracious.” “Ah, Watson,” said Holmes, smiling, “perhaps you would not be very gracious either, if, after all the trouble of wooing and wedding, you found yourself deprived in an instant of wife and of fortune. I think that we may judge Lord St. Simon very mercifully and thank our stars that we are never likely to find ourselves in the same position. Draw your chair up and hand me my violin, for the only problem we have still to solve is how to while away these bleak autumnal evenings.”

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olmes,” said I as I stood one morning in our bowwindow looking down the street, “here is a madman coming along. It seems rather sad that his relatives should allow him to come out alone.” My friend rose lazily from his armchair and stood with his hands in the pockets of his dressing-gown, looking over my shoulder. It was a bright, crisp February morning, and the snow of the day before still lay deep upon the ground, shimmering brightly in the wintry sun. Down the centre of Baker Street it had been ploughed into a brown crumbly band by the traffic, but at either side and on the heaped-up edges of the foot-paths it still lay as white as when it fell. The grey pavement had been cleaned and scraped, but was still dangerously slippery, so that there were fewer passengers than usual. Indeed, from the direction of the Metropolitan Station no one was coming save the single gentleman whose eccentric conduct had drawn my attention. He was a man of about fifty, tall, portly, and imposing, with a massive, strongly marked face and a commanding figure. He was dressed in a sombre yet rich style, in black frock-coat, shining hat, neat brown gaiters, and well-cut pearl-grey trousers. Yet his actions were in absurd contrast to the dignity of his dress and features, for he was running hard, with occasional little springs, such as a weary man gives who is little accustomed to set any tax upon his legs. As he ran he jerked his hands up and down, waggled his head, and writhed his face into the most
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Arthur Conan Doyle

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


extraordinary contortions. “What on earth can be the matter with him?” I asked. “He is looking up at the numbers of the houses.” “I believe that he is coming here,” said Holmes, rubbing his hands. “Here?” “Yes; I rather think he is coming to consult me professionally. I think that I recognize the symptoms. Ha! did I not tell you?” As he spoke, the man, puffing and blowing, rushed at our door and pulled at our bell until the whole house resounded with the clanging. A few moments later he was in our room, still puffing, still gesticulating, but with so fixed a look of grief and despair in his eyes that our smiles were turned in an instant to horror and pity. For a while he could not get his words out, but swayed his body and plucked at his hair like one who has been driven to the extreme limits of his reason. Then, suddenly springing to his feet, he beat his head against the wall with such force that we both rushed upon him and tore him away to the centre of the room. Sherlock Holmes pushed him down into the easy-chair and, sitting beside him, patted his hand and chatted with him in the easy, soothing tones which he knew so well how to employ. “You have come to me to tell your story, have you not?” said he. “You are fatigued with your haste. Pray wait until you have recovered yourself, and then I shall be most happy to look into any little problem which you may submit to me.” The man sat for a minute or more with a heaving chest, fighting against his emotion. Then he passed his handkerchief over his brow, set his lips tight, and turned his face towards us. “No doubt you think me mad?” said he.
Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


“I see that you have had some great trouble,” responded Holmes. “God knows I have!—a trouble which is enough to unseat my reason, so sudden and so terrible is it. Public disgrace I might have faced, although I am a man whose character has never yet borne a stain. Private affliction also is the lot of every man; but the two coming together, and in so frightful a form, have been enough to shake my very soul. Besides, it is not I alone. The very noblest in the land may suffer unless some way be found out of this horrible affair.” “Pray compose yourself, sir,” said Holmes, “and let me have a clear account of who you are and what it is that has befallen you.” “My name,” answered our visitor, “is probably familiar to your ears. I am Alexander Holder, of the banking firm of Holder & Stevenson, of Threadneedle Street.” The name was indeed well known to us as belonging to the senior partner in the second largest private banking concern in the City of London. What could have happened, then, to bring one of the foremost citizens of London to this most pitiable pass? We waited, all curiosity, until with another effort he braced himself to tell his story. “I feel that time is of value,” said he; “that is why I hastened here when the police inspector suggested that I should secure your co-operation. I came to Baker Street by the Underground and hurried from there on foot, for the cabs go slowly through this snow. That is why I was so out of breath, for I am a man who takes very little exercise. I feel better now, and I will put the facts before you as shortly and yet as clearly as I can. “It is, of course, well known to you that in a successful banking
Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


business as much depends upon our being able to find remunerative investments for our funds as upon our increasing our connection and the number of our depositors. One of our most lucrative means of laying out money is in the shape of loans, where the security is unimpeachable. We have done a good deal in this direction during the last few years, and there are many noble families to whom we have advanced large sums upon the security of their pictures, libraries, or plate. “Yesterday morning I was seated in my office at the bank when a card was brought in to me by one of the clerks. I started when I saw the name, for it was that of none other than—well, perhaps even to you I had better say no more than that it was a name which is a household word all over the earth—one of the highest, noblest, most exalted names in England. I was overwhelmed by the honour and attempted, when he entered, to say so, but he plunged at once into business with the air of a man who wishes to hurry quickly through a disagreeable task. “‘Mr. Holder,’ said he, ‘I have been informed that you are in the habit of advancing money.’ “‘The firm does so when the security is good.’ I answered. “‘It is absolutely essential to me,’ said he, ‘that I should have 50,000 pounds at once. I could, of course, borrow so trifling a sum ten times over from my friends, but I much prefer to make it a matter of business and to carry out that business myself. In my position you can readily understand that it is unwise to place one’s self under obligations.’ “‘For how long, may I ask, do you want this sum?’ I asked. “‘Next Monday I have a large sum due to me, and I shall then most certainly repay what you advance, with whatever interest
Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics

every businesslike precaution should be taken.’ said he. even in your case. If. raising up a square. I only doubt —’ “‘The propriety of my leaving it. on the other hand. ‘were it not that the strain would be rather more than it could bear.’ “‘I should much prefer to have it so. “‘Precisely.’ He opened the case. The lowest estimate would put the worth of the coronet at double the sum which I have asked. ‘There are thirty-nine enormous beryls. lay the magnificent piece of jewellery which he had named. ‘You have doubtless heard of the Beryl Coronet?’ “‘One of the most precious public possessions of the empire. You may set your mind at rest about that. I am to do it in the name of the firm. Is the security sufficient?’ “‘Ample. It is a pure matter of form.’ Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 304 you think it right to charge. and there.’ “‘I should be happy to advance it without further parley from my own private purse.’ said I. then in justice to my partner I must insist that. flesh-coloured velvet.’ said I. imbedded in soft. black morocco case which he had laid beside his chair. “‘You doubt its value?’ he asked. I should not dream of doing so were it not absolutely certain that I should be able in four days to reclaim it. I am prepared to leave it with you as my security. “‘Not at all. ‘and the price of the gold chasing is incalculable.’ said he. But it is very essential to me that the money should be paid at once.’ “I took the precious case into my hands and looked in some perplexity from it to my illustrious client.

however. I ordered him to pay over fifty 1000 pound notes. I rely upon you not only to be discreet and to refrain from all gossip upon the matter but. However. I could not but think with some misgivings of the immense responsibility which it entailed upon me. Mr. founded upon all that I have heard of you. that for the next few days I would always carry the case backward and forward with me. so that it might never be really out of my reach. to preserve this coronet with every possible precaution because I need not say that a great public scandal would be caused if any harm were to befall it. I called a cab Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . with every confidence. it was too late to alter the matter now.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 305 “‘You understand. Holder. calling for my cashier. above all. a horrible scandal would ensue if any misfortune should occur to it. with the precious case lying upon the table in front of me. “When evening came I felt that it would be an imprudence to leave so precious a thing in the office behind me. and I shall call for it in person on Monday morning. and why should not mine be? If so. I leave it with you. and it would be impossible to replace them. There could be no doubt that. I said no more but. With this intention. When I was alone once more. therefore.’ “Seeing that my client was anxious to leave. Any injury to it would be almost as serious as its complete loss. how terrible would be the position in which I should find myself! I determined. as it was a national possession. so I locked it up in my private safe and turned once more to my work. that I am giving you a strong proof of the confidence which I have in you. for there are no beryls in the world to match these. Bankers’ safes had been forced before now. I already regretted having ever consented to take charge of it. however.

carrying the jewel with me. She came with an excellent character. having charming Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Very likely I have. Lucy Parr. “It was naturally my intention that he should succeed me in my business. Perhaps it would have been better for both of us had I been sterner. wayward. I did not breathe freely until I had taken it upstairs and locked it in the bureau of my dressing-room. to speak the truth. Arthur. has only been in my service a few months. People tell me that I have spoiled him. and there. Another.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 306 and drove out to my house at Streatham. He was wild. I could not trust him in the handling of large sums of money. and. but he was not of a business turn. Mr. She is a very pretty girl and has attracted admirers who have occasionally hung about the place. however. I have never denied him a wish. Holmes—a grievous disappointment. I could not bear to see the smile fade even for a moment from his face. I am a widower and have an only son. When he was young he became a member of an aristocratic club. “So much for the servants. Holmes. but I meant it for the best. I have no doubt that I am myself to blame. the second waiting-maid. and may be set aside altogether. That is the only drawback which we have found to her. Mr. for I wish you to thoroughly understand the situation. and has always given me satisfaction. I have three maid-servants who have been with me a number of years and whose absolute reliability is quite above suspicion. My family itself is so small that it will not take me long to describe it. When my dear wife died I felt that he was all I had to love. “And now a word as to my household. but we believe her to be a thoroughly good girl in every way. My groom and my page sleep out of the house. He has been a disappointment to me.

I am convinced from his cynical speech and the look which I have caught in his eyes that he is one who should be deeply distrusted. Twice my boy has asked her to marry him. a brilliant talker. was enough to draw him back again. a wonderful manager and housekeeper. until he had again and again to come to me and implore me to give him an advance upon his allowance. He tried more than once to break away from the dangerous company which he was keeping. but when my brother died five years ago and left her alone in the world I adopted her. and so. I could not wonder that such a man as Sir George Burnwell should gain an influence over him. who has a woman’s quick insight into character. for he loves her devotedly.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 307 manners. and I have found myself that I could hardly resist the fascination of his manner. “And. He is older than Arthur. beautiful. loving. She is my niece. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “And now there is only she to be described. and a man of great personal beauty. In only one matter has she ever gone against my wishes. He learned to play heavily at cards and to squander money on the turf. but each time the influence of his friend. thinks my little Mary. he was soon the intimate of a number of men with long purses and expensive habits. I do not know what I could do without her. She is a sunbeam in my house—sweet. So I think. too. far away from the glamour of his presence. She is my right hand. yet as tender and quiet and gentle as a woman could be. and have looked upon her ever since as my daughter. but each time she has refused him. Sir George Burnwell. a man of the world to his finger-tips. that he might settle his debts of honour. Yet when I think of him in cold blood. seen everything. indeed. for he has frequently brought him to my house. one who had been everywhere.

’ “He often had a wild way of talking. I am sure. “‘Oh. “‘In my own bureau. but I thought it better not to disturb it. any old key will fit that bureau. “‘Where have you put it?’ asked Arthur.’ “‘And a very good thing. and that his marriage might have changed his whole life.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 308 I think that if anyone could have drawn him into the right path it would have been she. suppressing only the name of my client. and I shall continue with my miserable story.’ said he.’ “‘You have been very kind. but now. so that I thought little of what he said. Mr. dad.’ said he with his eyes cast down.’ said he. Holmes. and of the precious treasure which we had under our roof. that night with a very grave face. Lucy Parr. I told Arthur and Mary my experience. “‘Look here. too!’ I cried. I cannot!’ I answered sharply. had. you know the people who live under my roof. left the room. He followed me to my room. ‘but I must have this money. however. I hope to goodness the house won’t be burgled during the night.’ “‘Well. When I was a youngster I have opened it myself with the key of the box-room cupboard. “When we were taking coffee in the drawing-room that night after dinner. who had brought in the coffee. ‘I have been far too generous with you in money matters. or else I can never show my face inside the club again. but I cannot swear that the door was closed. ‘can you let me have 200 pounds?’ “‘No. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Mary and Arthur were much interested and wished to see the famous coronet. alas! it is too late—forever too late! “Now.’ I answered. “‘It is locked up.

As I came down the stairs I saw Mary herself at the side window of the hall. looking. your statement is singularly lucid. then I must try other means.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 309 “‘Yes.’ said he.’ said she. Mr. “‘Tell me. “I am endeavouring to tell you everything. the maid. I must raise the money in some way.’ “‘Then. a little disturbed.’ “‘You must speak to her in the morning. and if you will not let me have it. made sure that my treasure was safe. on which he bowed and left the room without another word. “When he was gone I unlocked my bureau. ‘did you give Lucy. or I will if you prefer it. Then I started to go round the house to see that all was secure—a duty which I usually leave to Mary but which I thought it well to perform myself that night.’ “‘She came in just now by the back door. but you would not have me leave it a dishonoured man. ‘You shall not have a farthing from me. Holmes. but I beg that you will question me upon any point which I do not make clear. where I was soon asleep. dad.’ I cried.” “I come to a part of my story now in which I should wish to be Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . but I think that it is hardly safe and should be stopped. leave to go out to-night?’ “‘Certainly not. for this was the third demand during the month. Are you sure that everything is fastened?’ “‘Quite sure.’ I kissed her and went up to my bedroom again. I have no doubt that she has only been to the side gate to see someone. and locked it again. good-night.’ “I was very angry. I thought.” “On the contrary. ‘I could not bear the disgrace. which may have any bearing upon the case. dad. which she closed and fastened as I approached.

but it had left an impression behind it as though a window had gently closed somewhere. as I had left it. I was awakened by some sound in the house. Suddenly. “‘You blackguard!’ I shouted. all palpitating with fear. One of the gold corners. beside myself with rage. ‘you villain! you thief! How dare you touch that coronet?’ “The gas was half up. or bending it with all his strength.’ said he. thief!’ I roared. And you know where they are. I am not a very heavy sleeper. There cannot be any missing. ‘I will not stand it Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . shaking him by the shoulder. I slipped out of bed. with three of the beryls in it. and peeped round the comer of my dressing-room door. was missing. “‘There are none missing. then. I lay listening with all my ears. He appeared to be wrenching at it. dressed only in his shirt and trousers. About two in the morning. It had ceased ere I was wide awake. “‘Yes. At my cry he dropped it from his grasp and turned as pale as death. to my horror.’ said he. to make me even less so than usual. there was a distinct sound of footsteps moving softly in the next room.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 310 particularly so. holding the coronet in his hands. I snatched it up and examined it. ‘You have destroyed it! You have dishonoured me forever! Where are the jewels which you have stolen?’ “‘Stolen!’ he cried. was standing beside the light. Must I call you a liar as well as a thief? Did I not see you trying to tear off another piece?’ “‘You have called me names enough. no doubt. and the anxiety in my mind tended. “‘There are three missing. “‘Arthur!’ I screamed. and my unhappy boy.

let the police find what they can. asked me whether it was my intention to charge him with theft. Arthur. I shall not say another word about this business.’ “‘You shall leave it in the hands of the police!’ I cried half-mad with grief and rage. I sent the house-maid for the police and put the investigation into their hands at once. ‘If you choose to call the police.’ “‘You shall learn nothing from me. I implored him to remember that not only my honour but that of one who was far greater than I was at stake. I was determined that the law should have its way in everything. He might avert it all if he would but tell me Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 311 any longer. It would be to your advantage as well as mine if I might leave the house for five minutes. And then. ‘I shall have this matter probed to the bottom. she read the whole story and. since the ruined coronet was national property. and.’ “By this time the whole house was astir. at the sight of the coronet and of Arthur’s face. ‘you will not have me arrested at once. since you have chosen to insult me. with a scream. realizing the dreadful position in which I was placed.’ said he. who had stood sullenly with his arms folded.’ said I. and that he threatened to raise a scandal which would convulse the nation. Mary was the first to rush into my room. I answered that it had ceased to be a private matter. fell down senseless on the ground.’ “‘That you may get away.’ said he with a passion such as I should not have thought was in his nature. “‘At least. but had become a public one. or perhaps that you may conceal what you have stolen. I will leave your house in the morning and make my own way in the world. for I had raised my voice in my anger. When the inspector and a constable entered the house.

’ “‘Keep your forgiveness for those who ask for it. what shall I do! I have lost my honour. You may go to any expense which you think necessary. There was but one way for it. and I. The police have openly confessed that they can at present make nothing of it. If you but make such reparation as is in your power. Sherlock Holmes sat silent for some few minutes. ‘you have been caught in the act. “‘You may as well face the matter. after going through all the police formalities. No Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Oh. turning away from me with a sneer. I have already offered a reward of 1000 pounds.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 312 what he had done with the three missing stones. I saw that he was too hardened for any words of mine to influence him. by telling us where the beryls are. I called in the inspector and gave him into custody. my gems. A search was made at once not only of his person but of his room and of every portion of the house where he could possibly have concealed the gems. what shall I do!” He put a hand on either side of his head and rocked himself to and fro. Sir George Burnwell has been several times lately. droning to himself like a child whose grief has got beyond words. “None save my partner with his family and an occasional friend of Arthur’s. all shall be forgiven and forgotten. nor would the wretched boy open his mouth for all our persuasions and our threats. have hurried round to you to implore you to use your skill in unravelling the matter. My God. with his brows knitted and his eyes fixed upon the fire. and my son in one night. “Do you receive much company?” he asked.’ said I. and no confession could make your guilt more heinous.’ he answered. but no trace of them could be found. This morning he was removed to a cell.

that he might have been trying to straighten it?” “God bless you! You are doing what you can for him and for me. why did he not invent a lie? His silence appears to me to cut both ways. from what you say.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 313 one else.” “She is of a quiet nature.” “Terrible! She is even more affected than I. then. What was he doing there at all? If his purpose were innocent. Mary and I stay at home. I think.” “This matter. She is four-and-twenty. why did he not say so?” “Precisely. then. Besides. But it is too heavy a task.” “Do you not think.” “A likely story! As if a man bent on felony would slam his door so as to wake a household. Was the remainder of the coronet at all injured?” “Yes. What did the police think of the noise which awoke you from your sleep?” “They considered that it might be caused by Arthur’s closing his bedroom door. And if it were guilty. What did they say. We neither of us care for it.” “I hardly consider that a conclusive proof. seems to have been a shock to her also.” “That is unusual in a young girl. it was twisted. of the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “You have neither of you any doubt as to your son’s guilt?” “How can we have when I saw him with my own eyes with the coronet in his hands. she is not so very young. There are several singular points about the case.” “Do you go out much in society?” “Arthur does.

to me it seems exceedingly complex. went off to some other place. and devote an hour to glancing a little more closely into details. and then returned with the other thirty-six into the room in which he exposed himself to the greatest danger of being discovered.” said Holmes. to your dressing-room. if you please. Consider what is involved by your theory. “If his motives were innocent. we will set off for Streatham together. my dear sir. took out your coronet. broke off by main force a small portion of it. I ask you now. “is it not obvious to you now that this matter really strikes very much deeper than either you or the police were at first inclined to think? It appeared to you to be a simple case. Holder. for my curiosity and sympathy were deeply stirred by the story to which we had listened. The whole garden has already been minutely examined. concealed three gems out of the thirty-nine. went.” replied Holmes. but still I had Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . they have shown extraordinary energy. Mr. opened your bureau. “so now.” “Now. with such skill that nobody can find them. You suppose that your son came down from his bed.” My friend insisted upon my accompanying them in their expedition. at great risk.” “Have they thought of looking outside the house?” “Yes.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 314 disappearance of these gems?” “They are still sounding the planking and probing the furniture in the hope of finding them. why does he not explain them?” “It is our task to find that out. I confess that the guilt of the banker’s son appeared to me to be as obvious as it did to his unhappy father. which I was eager enough to do. is such a theory tenable?” “But what other is there?” cried the banker with a gesture of despair.

down the tradesmen’s path. As she swept Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and he even broke into a desultory chat with me over his business affairs. Our client appeared to have taken fresh heart at the little glimpse of hope which had been presented to him. On the left ran a lane which led to the stables. the modest residence of the great financier. Fairbank was a good-sized square house of white stone. So long was he that Mr. with a snow-clad lawn. On the right side was a small wooden thicket. Holmes left us standing at the door and walked slowly all round the house. sunk in the deepest thought. but sat with his chin upon his breast and his hat drawn over his eyes. Holder and I went into the dining-room and waited by the fire until he should return.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 315 such faith in Holmes’s judgment that I felt that there must be some grounds for hope as long as he was dissatisfied with the accepted explanation. though little used. Her lips. which led into a narrow path between two neat hedges stretching from the road to the kitchen door. and was not itself within the grounds at all. but her eyes were flushed with crying. too. with dark hair and eyes. A short railway journey and a shorter walk brought us to Fairbank. slim. being a public. and forming the tradesmen’s entrance. She was rather above the middle height. A double carriage-sweep. which seemed the darker against the absolute pallor of her skin. standing back a little from the road. and so round by the garden behind into the stable lane. were bloodless. We were sitting there in silence when the door opened and a young lady came in. I do not think that I have ever seen such deadly paleness in a woman’s face. across the front. thoroughfare. stretched down in front to two large iron gates which closed the entrance. He hardly spoke a word the whole way out to the southern suburb.

” “Why is he silent. Let the matter drop and say no more. have you not.” “But I am so sure that he is innocent. do take my word for it that he is innocent. if he is innocent?” “Who knows? Perhaps because he was so angry that you should suspect him. I have brought a gentleman down from London to inquire more deeply into it. I suppose. that you Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . do. she went straight to her uncle and passed her hand over his head with a sweet womanly caress. my girl.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 316 silently into the room she impressed me with a greater sense of grief than the banker had done in the morning. He is round in the stable lane now. “What can he hope to find there? Ah! this. and it was the more striking in her as she was evidently a woman of strong character. “No. Far from hushing the thing up.” “The stable lane?” She raised her dark eyebrows. “You have given orders that Arthur should be liberated. is he. It is so dreadful to think of our dear Arthur in prison!” “I shall never let it drop until the gems are found—never. then. You know what woman’s instincts are. his friend. facing round to me. the matter must be probed to the bottom. I know that he has done no harm and that you will be sorry for having acted so harshly. with immense capacity for self-restraint. sir. I trust. no. when I actually saw him with the coronet in his hand?” “Oh. Disregarding my presence. dad?” she asked. but he had only picked it up to look at it. He wished us to leave him alone. Mary! Your affection for Arthur blinds you as to the awful consequences to me. Oh.” “This gentleman?” she asked. “No.” “How could I help suspecting him.

that we may prove it. I presume?” “Yes.” “You heard nothing yourself last night?” “Nothing. You saw her return by the kitchen door. and that the two may have planned the robbery.” “But what is the good of all these vague theories. I heard that. Miss Holder. “when I have told you that I saw Arthur with the coronet in his hands?” “Wait a little.” “I see.” “You have a maid who has a sweetheart? I think that you remarked to your uncle last night that she had been out to see him?” “Yes. going back to the mat to knock the snow from his shoes.” “I fully share your opinion. and I trust. what I feel sure is the truth.” cried the banker impatiently. You infer that she may have gone out to tell her sweetheart. until my uncle here began to speak loudly. Holder.” returned Holmes. We must come back to that. About this girl. Might I ask you a question or two?” “Pray do. if it may help to clear this horrible affair up. when I went to see if the door was fastened for the night I Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . sir. “I believe I have the honour of addressing Miss Mary Holder. Did you fasten all the windows?” “Yes.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 317 will succeed in proving. and I came down.” “Were they all fastened this morning?” “Yes.” “You shut up the windows and doors the night before. and who may have heard uncle’s remarks about the coronet. and she was the girl who waited in the drawing-room. Mr. that my cousin Arthur is innocent of this crime. with you.

Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “And he is a man with a wooden leg?” Something like fear sprang up in the young lady’s expressive black eyes.” He walked swiftly round from one to the other. “Which key was used to open it?” he asked. The banker’s dressing-room was a plainly furnished little chamber. “Now we shall go upstairs. This he opened and made a very careful examination of the sill with his powerful magnifying lens.” said Holmes. you are like a magician. a large bureau.” “He stood. and a long mirror. but there was no answering smile in Holmes’s thin. I saw the man. yes! he is the green-grocer who brings our vegetables round.” said she.” Sherlock Holmes took it up and opened the bureau. in the gloom. Perhaps I had better take a look at the lower windows before I go up. Holmes went to the bureau first and looked hard at the lock.” said he. farther up the path than is necessary to reach the door?” “Yes. “That which my son himself indicated—that of the cupboard of the lumber-room. too. eager face. pausing only at the large one which looked from the hall onto the stable lane. “I shall probably wish to go over the outside of the house again. His name is Francis Prosper. “How do you know that?” She smiled. “to the left of the door—that is to say. “Why. he did.” said he at last. with a grey carpet. “I should be very glad now to go upstairs.” “Do you know him?” “Oh.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 318 met her slipping in.” “Have you it here?” “That is it on the dressing-table.

” said he. Might I beg that you will break it off. “I should not dream of trying. Miss Holder?” “I confess that I still share my uncle’s perplexity.” “Your son had no shoes or slippers on when you saw him?” “He had nothing on save only his trousers and shirt. This case.” He opened the case.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 319 “It is a noiseless lock. and the thirty-six stones were the finest that I have ever seen.” “Thank you. Holder? There would be a noise like a pistol shot. We have certainly been favoured with extraordinary luck during this inquiry. I shall now continue my Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Mr. At one side of the coronet was a cracked edge. contains the coronet.” said he. what do you think would happen if I did break it. It was a magnificent specimen of the jeweller’s art.” said Holmes. Do you tell me that all this happened within a few yards of your bed and that you heard nothing of it?” “I do not know what to think. and taking out the diadem he laid it upon the table. “I feel it give a little. Holder. Mr.” “But perhaps it may grow lighter as we go. “but. With your permission. though I am exceptionally strong in the fingers. it would take me all my time to break it. “Then I will. “here is the corner which corresponds to that which has been so unfortunately lost. where a corner holding three gems had been torn away. and it will be entirely our own fault if we do not succeed in clearing the matter up.” said he. Holder. It is all dark to me.” Holmes suddenly bent his strength upon it. Now. “Now. An ordinary man could not do it. What do you think. Mr. We must have a look at it. I presume.” The banker recoiled in horror. but without result. “It is no wonder that it did not wake you.

“I shall never see them again!” he cried. what was this dark business which was acted in my house last night?” “If you can call upon me at my Baker Street rooms to-morrow morning between nine and ten I shall be happy to do what I can to make it clearer.” “I would give my fortune to have them back. although what his conclusions were was more than I could even dimly imagine. until at last I gave it over in despair. For an hour or more he was at work. provided only that I get back the gems. “And my son? You give me hopes?” “My opinion is in no way altered. Good-bye. I shall look into the matter between this and then. Several times during our homeward journey I endeavoured to sound him upon the point. Holder. Where are they?” “I cannot tell. for God’s sake. It was not yet three when we found ourselves in Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “Very good. Mr. at his own request. I understand that you give me carte blanche to act for you.” “But the gems. but he always glided away to some other topic. it is just possible that I may have to come over here again before evening. and that you place no limit on the sum I may draw. returning at last with his feet heavy with snow and his features as inscrutable as ever.” said he. Holmes. “I can serve you best by returning to my rooms.” He went alone.” It was obvious to me that my companion’s mind was now made up about the case.” “Then. for he explained that any unnecessary footmarks might make his task more difficult. “I think that I have seen now all that there is to see.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 320 investigations outside. Mr.” The banker wrung his hands.

and I would not have missed it for a good deal. It may be some time before I get back. “I am going right on. but I shall soon know which it is. to the other side of the West End. I hope that I may be back in a few hours. and there was even a touch of colour upon his sallow cheeks. He chucked it down into a corner and helped himself to a cup of tea. but I did not call at the house.” said he.” He cut a slice of beef from the joint upon the sideboard. “I only looked in as I passed. He hurried to his chamber and was down again in a few minutes dressed as a common loafer. and his worn boots. I may be on the trail in this matter. “I think that this should do. He Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . his shiny. His eyes twinkled. Don’t wait up for me in case I should be late. “I only wish that you could come with me. Nothing to complain of. With his collar turned up. or I may be following a will-o’-the-wisp. I have been out to Streatham since I saw you last. but must get these disreputable clothes off and return to my highly respectable self. swinging an old elastic-sided boot in his hand.” “Where to?” “Oh. glancing into the glass above the fireplace. he was a perfect sample of the class.” said he. evidently in excellent spirits. However. seedy coat. but I fear that it won’t do.” I could see by his manner that he had stronger reasons for satisfaction than his words alone would imply. It is a very sweet little problem. I had just finished my tea when he returned. so so.” “How are you getting on?” “Oh. and thrusting this rude meal into his pocket he started off upon his expedition.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 321 our rooms once more. his red cravat. I must not sit gossiping here. sandwiched it between two rounds of bread. Watson.

as fresh and trim as possible. Mary. Her bed this morning had not been slept in.” I answered. indeed. has deserted me. our friend the financier. for his face which was naturally of a broad and massive mould. It was no uncommon thing for him to be away for days and nights on end when he was hot upon a scent. it is after nine now. while his hair seemed to me at least a shade whiter. which told me that he was off once more upon his congenial hunt. I was shocked by the change which had come over him. I do not know at what hour he came in. “but you remember that our client has rather an early appointment this morning. I thought I heard a ring.” It was. was now pinched and fallen in. her room was Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Watson. so I retired to my room.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 322 hastened upstairs. One sorrow comes close upon the heels of another. My niece.” “Why. and a few minutes later I heard the slam of the hall door. without a care in the world.” “Deserted you?” “Yes. “Only two days ago I was a happy and prosperous man. I waited until midnight. “I do not know what I have done to be so severely tried. Now I am left to a lonely and dishonoured age.” said he. “You will excuse my beginning without you. but when I came down to breakfast in the morning there he was with a cup of coffee in one hand and the paper in the other.” said he. so that his lateness caused me no surprise. but there was no sign of his return. “I should not be surprised if that were he. and he dropped heavily into the armchair which I pushed forward for him. He entered with a weariness and lethargy which was even more painful than his violence of the morning before.

” “Ha! You say so! You have heard something. Better make it out for 4000 pounds.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 323 empty. Three thousand will cover the matter. I am ever your loving MARY. I cannot. do not search for me. And there is a little reward. I trust. that if she had married my boy all might have been well with him. in sorrow and not in anger. Mr. and a note for me lay upon the hall table. Holder. no. I fancy. and that if I had acted differently this terrible misfortune might never have occurred. Mr. for that is provided for. Holmes. took out a little triangular piece Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “That would be unnecessary. above all. that you are nearing the end of your troubles. Do not worry about my future.” With a dazed face the banker made out the required cheque. you have learned something! Where are the gems?” “You would not think 1000 pounds apiece an excessive sum for them?” “I would pay ten. for it will be fruitless labour and an ill-service to me. with this thought in my mind. Mr. It is perhaps the best possible solution. Holmes walked over to his desk.’ “What could she mean by that note. It is to that remark that she refers in this note: “‘MY DEAREST UNCLE:—I feel that I have brought trouble upon you. I had said to her last night. nothing of the kind. Perhaps it was thoughtless of me to say so. and. In life or in death. and I feel that I must leave you forever. Have you your checkbook? Here is a pen. Holmes? Do you think it points to suicide?” “No. ever again be happy under your roof.

may open his lips. You owe a very humble apology to that noble lad. first.” said Sherlock Holmes rather sternly.” “You are sure of it! Then let us hurry to him at once to let him know that the truth is known. your son. They have now fled together. who has carried himself in this matter as I should be proud to see my own son do.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 324 of gold with three gems in it. Holder. Your news of this morning. and threw it down upon the table. and finding that he would not tell me the story.” “No. When I had cleared it all up I had an interview with him. on which he had to confess that I was right and to add the very few details which were not yet quite clear to me. should I ever chance to have one. what is this extraordinary mystery !” “I will do so. however. “There is one other thing you owe. With a shriek of joy our client clutched it up. and he hugged his recovered gems to his bosom.” “My Mary? Impossible!” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . that which it is hardest for me to say and for you to hear: there has been an understanding between Sir George Burnwell and your niece Mary. then. “You have it!” he gasped.” “Then it was not Arthur who took them?” “I told you yesterday. “Name the sum.” “He knows it already.” “For heaven’s sake. and I will pay it. and I will show you the steps by which I reached it. tell me. I told it to him. that it was not. and I repeat to-day. “I am saved! I am saved!” The reaction of joy was as passionate as his grief had been. Mr. the debt is not to me. And let me say to you. “Owe!” He caught up a pen.

“Your boy. His wicked lust for gold kindled at the news. she flattered herself that she alone had touched his heart. Your niece knew nothing of such men. went to bed after his interview with you but he slept badly on account of his uneasiness about his club debts. then. when you had. looking out. Your niece. Arthur. She had hardly listened to his instructions when she saw you coming downstairs. She told him of the coronet. it is certain. gone to your room. but at least she became his tool and was in the habit of seeing him nearly every evening. and he bent her to his will. a man without heart or conscience. and I think that she must have been one. as she thought. was surprised to see his cousin walking very Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “I cannot. as he had done to a hundred before her. In the middle of the night he heard a soft tread pass his door. so he rose and. what occurred in your house last night. so long had he stood there. believe it!” cried the banker with an ashen face. I have no doubt that she loved you. an absolutely desperate villain. on which she closed the window rapidly and told you about one of the servants’ escapade with her wooden-legged lover. Neither you nor your son knew the true character of this man when you admitted him into your family circle.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 325 “It is unfortunately more than possible. The devil knows best what he said. slipped down and talked to her lover through the window which leads into the stable lane. When he breathed his vows to her. His footmarks had pressed right through the snow. and I will not. which was all perfectly true. “I will tell you. but there are women in whom the love of a lover extinguishes all other loves. He is one of the most dangerous men in England—a ruined gambler.

But the instant that she was gone he realized how crushing a misfortune this would be for you. He saw her stealthily open the window. closed the window. passing quite close to where he stood hid behind the curtain. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . just as he was. and your son. “As long as she was on the scene he could not take any action without a horrible exposure of the woman whom he loved. the lad slipped on some clothes and waited there in the dark to see what would come of this strange affair. In the scuffle. Then something suddenly snapped. Presently she emerged from the room again. your son struck Sir George and cut him over the eye. sprang out into the snow. and he. and there was a struggle between them. rushed back. He rushed down. Sir George Burnwell tried to get away. Petrified with astonishment. in his bare feet. but Arthur caught him. and had just observed that the coronet had been twisted in the struggle and was endeavouring to straighten it when you appeared upon the scene. and in the light of the passage-lamp your son saw that she carried the precious coronet in her hands. opened the window. thrilling with horror. ran along and slipped behind the curtain near your door. your lad tugging at one side of the coronet. hand out the coronet to someone in the gloom. finding that he had the coronet in his hands. and ran down the lane. and his opponent at the other. and how all-important it was to set it right. ascended to your room. whence he could see what passed in the hall beneath. She passed down the stairs.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 326 stealthily along the passage until she disappeared into your dressing-room. where he could see a dark figure in the moonlight.” “Is it possible?” gasped the banker. and then closing it once more hurry back to her room.

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“You then roused his anger by calling him names at a moment when he felt that he had deserved your warmest thanks. He could not explain the true state of affairs without betraying one who certainly deserved little enough consideration at his hands. He took the more chivalrous view, however, and preserved her secret.” “And that was why she shrieked and fainted when she saw the coronet,” cried Mr. Holder. “Oh, my God! what a blind fool I have been! And his asking to be allowed to go out for five minutes! The dear fellow wanted to see if the missing piece were at the scene of the struggle. How cruelly I have misjudged him!’ “When I arrived at the house,” continued Holmes, “I at once went very carefully round it to observe if there were any traces in the snow which might help me. I knew that none had fallen since the evening before, and also that there had been a strong frost to preserve impressions. I passed along the tradesmen’s path, but found it all trampled down and indistinguishable. Just beyond it, however, at the far side of the kitchen door, a woman had stood and talked with a man, whose round impressions on one side showed that he had a wooden leg. I could even tell that they had been disturbed, for the woman had run back swiftly to the door, as was shown by the deep toe and light heel marks, while Woodenleg had waited a little, and then had gone away. I thought at the time that this might be the maid and her sweetheart, of whom you had already spoken to me, and inquiry showed it was so. I passed round the garden without seeing anything more than random tracks, which I took to be the police; but when I got into the stable lane a very long and complex story was written in the snow in front of me.
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“There was a double line of tracks of a booted man, and a second double line which I saw with delight belonged to a man with naked feet. I was at once convinced from what you had told me that the latter was your son. The first had walked both ways, but the other had run swiftly, and as his tread was marked in places over the depression of the boot, it was obvious that he had passed after the other. I followed them up and found they led to the hall window, where Boots had worn all the snow away while waiting. Then I walked to the other end, which was a hundred yards or more down the lane. I saw where Boots had faced round, where the snow was cut up as though there had been a struggle, and, finally, where a few drops of blood had fallen, to show me that I was not mistaken. Boots had then run down the lane, and another little smudge of blood showed that it was he who had been hurt. When he came to the highroad at the other end, I found that the pavement had been cleared, so there was an end to that clew. “On entering the house, however, I examined, as you remember, the sill and framework of the hall window with my lens, and I could at once see that someone had passed out. I could distinguish the outline of an instep where the wet foot had been placed in coming in. I was then beginning to be able to form an opinion as to what had occurred. A man had waited outside the window; someone had brought the gems; the deed had been overseen by your son; he had pursued the thief; had struggled with him; they had each tugged at the coronet, their united strength causing injuries which neither alone could have effected. He had returned with the prize, but had left a fragment in the grasp of his opponent. So far I was clear. The question now was,
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who was the man and who was it brought him the coronet? “It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Now, I knew that it was not you who had brought it down, so there only remained your niece and the maids. But if it were the maids, why should your son allow himself to be accused in their place? There could be no possible reason. As he loved his cousin, however, there was an excellent explanation why he should retain her secret—the more so as the secret was a disgraceful one. When I remembered that you had seen her at that window, and how she had fainted on seeing the coronet again, my conjecture became a certainty. “And who could it be who was her confederate? A lover evidently, for who else could outweigh the love and gratitude which she must feel to you? I knew that you went out little, and that your circle of friends was a very limited one. But among them was Sir George Burnwell. I had heard of him before as being a man of evil reputation among women. It must have been he who wore those boots and retained the missing gems. Even though he knew that Arthur had discovered him, he might still flatter himself that he was safe, for the lad could not say a word without compromising his own family. “Well, your own good sense will suggest what measures I took next. I went in the shape of a loafer to Sir George’s house, managed to pick up an acquaintance with his valet, learned that his master had cut his head the night before, and, finally, at the expense of six shillings, made all sure by buying a pair of his castoff shoes. With these I journeyed down to Streatham and saw that they exactly fitted the tracks.”
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“I saw an ill-dressed vagabond in the lane yesterday evening,” said Mr. Holder. “Precisely. It was I. I found that I had my man, so I came home and changed my clothes. It was a delicate part which I had to play then, for I saw that a prosecution must be avoided to avert scandal, and I knew that so astute a villain would see that our hands were tied in the matter. I went and saw him. At first, of course, he denied everything. But when I gave him every particular that had occurred, he tried to bluster and took down a life-preserver from the wall. I knew my man, however, and I clapped a pistol to his head before he could strike. Then he became a little more reasonable. I told him that we would give him a price for the stones he held 1000 pounds apiece. That brought out the first signs of grief that he had shown. ‘Why, dash it all!’ said he, ‘I’ve let them go at six hundred for the three!’ I soon managed to get the address of the receiver who had them, on promising him that there would be no prosecution. Off I set to him, and after much chaffering I got our stones at 1000 pounds apiece. Then I looked in upon your son, told him that all was right, and eventually got to my bed about two o’clock, after what I may call a really hard day’s work.” “A day which has saved England from a great public scandal,” said the banker, rising. “Sir, I cannot find words to thank you, but you shall not find me ungrateful for what you have done. Your skill has indeed exceeded all that I have heard of it. And now I must fly to my dear boy to apologize to him for the wrong which I have done him. As to what you tell me of poor Mary, it goes to my very heart. Not even your skill can inform me where she is now.” “I think that we may safely say,” returned Holmes, “that she is
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wherever Sir George Burnwell is. It is equally certain, too, that whatever her sins are, they will soon receive a more than sufficient punishment.”

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o the man who loves art for its own sake,” remarked Sherlock Holmes, tossing aside the advertisement sheet of the Daily Telegraph, “it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived. It is pleasant to me to observe, Watson, that you have so far grasped this truth that in these little records of our cases which you have been good enough to draw up, and, I am bound to say, occasionally to embellish, you have given prominence not so much to the many causes célèbres and sensational trials in which I have figured but rather to those incidents which may have been trivial in themselves, but which have given room for those faculties of deduction and of logical synthesis which I have made my special province.” “And yet,” said I, smiling, “I cannot quite hold myself absolved from the charge of sensationalism which has been urged against my records.” “You have erred, perhaps,” he observed, taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood—“you have erred perhaps in attempting to put colour and life into each of your statements instead of confining yourself to the task of placing upon record that severe reasoning from cause to effect which is really the only notable feature about the thing.” “It seems to me that I have done you full justice in the matter,”


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I remarked with some coldness, for I was repelled by the egotism which I had more than once observed to be a strong factor in my friend’s singular character. “No, it is not selfishness or conceit,” said he, answering, as was his wont, my thoughts rather than my words. “If I claim full justice for my art, it is because it is an impersonal thing—a thing beyond myself. Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell. You have degraded what should have been a course of lectures into a series of tales.” It was a cold morning of the early spring, and we sat after breakfast on either side of a cheery fire in the old room at Baker Street. A thick fog rolled down between the lines of dun-coloured houses, and the opposing windows loomed like dark, shapeless blurs through the heavy yellow wreaths. Our gas was lit and shone on the white cloth and glimmer of china and metal, for the table had not been cleared yet. Sherlock Holmes had been silent all the morning, dipping continuously into the advertisement columns of a succession of papers until at last, having apparently given up his search, he had emerged in no very sweet temper to lecture me upon my literary shortcomings. “At the same time,” he remarked after a pause, during which he had sat puffing at his long pipe and gazing down into the fire, “you can hardly be open to a charge of sensationalism, for out of these cases which you have been so kind as to interest yourself in, a fair proportion do not treat of crime, in its legal sense, at all. The small matter in which I endeavoured to help the King of Bohemia, the singular experience of Miss Mary Sutherland, the problem connected with the man with the twisted lip, and the incident of
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what do the public.” I answered. I fear that you may have bordered on the trivial.” “Pshaw. who could hardly tell a weaver by his tooth or a compositor by his left thumb. for the days of the great cases are past.” “Do you know the young lady?” I asked. “Not I. or at least criminal man. were all matters which are outside the pale of the law. if you are trivial. I cannot blame you. “but the methods I hold to have been novel and of interest. indeed. This note I had this morning marks my zero-point. it seems to be degenerating into an agency for recovering lost lead pencils and giving advice to young ladies from boarding-schools.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and I have no doubt that is her ring. however. Read it!” He tossed a crumpled letter across to me.” “Yes. But in avoiding the sensational. my dear fellow.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 334 the noble bachelor. Yours faithfully. I fancy. It was dated from Montague Place upon the preceding evening. and ran thus: “DEAR MR.” “It is half-past ten now. I think that I have touched bottom at last. care about the finer shades of analysis and deduction! But. HOLMES:—I am very anxious to consult you as to whether I should or should not accept a situation which has been offered to me as governess. has lost all enterprise and originality. As to my own little practice. the great unobservant public. VIOLET HUNTER. Man.” “The end may have been so. I shall call at half-past ten to-morrow if I do not inconvenience you.

unless I am much mistaken. and then composed himself. also. “I have been a governess for five years.” said she.” said she. “There is a well-known agency for governesses in the West End Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . It may be so in this case. At last the little money which I had saved began to run short. so that I found myself without a situation. let us hope so. which appeared to be a mere whim at first. developed into a serious investigation. freckled like a plover’s egg. “You will excuse my troubling you. but without success. I am sure. as my companion rose to greet her. and as I have no parents or relations of any sort from whom I could ask advice. in Nova Scotia. with a bright.” As he spoke the door opened and a young lady entered the room. Miss Hunter.” “Well. and I answered advertisements. is the person in question.” I could see that Holmes was favourably impressed by the manner and speech of his new client. and I was at my wit’s end as to what I should do. But our doubts will very soon be solved. I shall be happy to do anything that I can to serve you. “in the family of Colonel Spence Munro. I advertised. He looked her over in his searching fashion. and took his children over to America with him. “but I have had a very strange experience. but two months ago the colonel received an appointment at Halifax. and with the brisk manner of a woman who has had her own way to make in the world. She was plainly but neatly dressed. for here. I thought that perhaps you would be kind enough to tell me what I should do. with his lids drooping and his finger-tips together.” “Pray take a seat. You remember that the affair of the blue carbuncle.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 335 “It may turn out to be of more interest than you think. quick face. to listen to her story.

’ “‘As governess?’ “‘Yes.’ “‘And what salary do you ask?’ “‘I had 4 pounds a month in my last place with Colonel Spence Munro. and are then shown in one by one. when she consults her ledgers and sees whether she has anything which would suit them. tut. and there I used to call about once a week in order to see whether anything had turned up which might suit me. throwing his fat hands out into the air like a man who is in a boiling passion. sir. A prodigiously stout man with a very smiling face and a great heavy chin which rolled down in fold upon fold over his throat sat at her elbow with a pair of glasses on his nose.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 336 called Westaway’s. sir.’ said he. and the ladies who are seeking employment wait in an anteroom. He was such a comfortable-looking man that it was quite a pleasure to look at him. “‘Yes. Westaway was the name of the founder of the business. She sits in her own little office. “‘You are looking for a situation. Capital! capital!’ He seemed quite enthusiastic and rubbed his hands together in the most genial fashion. “Well. “‘That will do. but it is really managed by Miss Stoper. miss?’ he asked. when I called last week I was shown into the little office as usual.’ “‘Oh. As I came in he gave quite a jump in his chair and turned quickly to Miss Stoper. ‘I could not ask for anything better. looking very earnestly at the ladies who entered. but I found that Miss Stoper was not alone. ‘How could anyone offer so pitiful a sum to a lady with such Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . tut! sweating—rank sweating!’ he cried.

‘to advance to my young ladies half their salary beforehand.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 337 attractions and accomplishments?’ “‘My accomplishments. tut!’ he cried.’ said I. “‘Hampshire. madam.’ Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . such an offer seemed almost too good to be true. my dear young lady. The point is. The gentleman. you are not fined for the rearing of a child who may some day play a considerable part in the history of the country. have you or have you not the bearing and deportment of a lady? There it is in a nutshell. “‘It is also my custom. ‘This is all quite beside the question. that to me. music. however. five miles on the far side of Winchester. and the dearest old country-house.’ “You may imagine. a little German. destitute as I was. opened a pocket-book and took out a note. Mr. The Copper Beeches. “‘May I ask where you live. As I was already in debt to my tradesmen. seeing perhaps the look of incredulity upon my face. how could any gentleman ask you to condescend to accept anything under the three figures? Your salary with me. then.’ “It seemed to me that I had never met so fascinating and so thoughtful a man. smiling in the most pleasant fashion until his eyes were just two little shining slits amid the white creases of his face.’ said he. would commence at 100 pounds a year. and drawing —’ “‘Tut. If you have not. Holmes. sir?’ said I. ‘A little French. so that they may meet any little expenses of their journey and their wardrobe. may be less than you imagine. It is the most lovely country. But if you have why. the advance was a great convenience. sir. and yet there was something unnatural about the whole transaction which made me wish to know a little more before I quite committed myself. Charming rural place.

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 338 “‘And my duties.’ said I. “I was a little startled at the nature of the child’s amusement. you would not object to our little whim.’ “‘One child—one dear little romper just six years old. my hair is somewhat luxuriant. Heh?’ “‘No. heh?’ “‘I should be happy to make myself useful. but the father’s laughter made me think that perhaps he was joking. I could not dream of sacrificing it in this offhand fashion. ‘Your duty would be. As you may observe. you know—faddy but kind-hearted. not the sole. Holmes. Mr. ‘are to take charge of a single child?’ “‘No. not the sole.’ I asked. “‘Or to sit here. no. then.’ “‘Quite so. to obey any little commands my wife might give. no. if you could see him killing cockroaches with a slipper! Smack! smack! smack! Three gone before you could wink!’ He leaned back in his chair and laughed his eyes into his head again. “‘My sole duties. as I am sure your good sense would suggest. that would not be offensive to you?’ “‘Oh. You see no difficulty.’ “‘Or to cut your hair quite short before you come to us?’ “I could hardly believe my ears.’ he cried. sir? I should be glad to know what they would be. provided always that they were such commands as a lady might with propriety obey. Oh. for example. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . We are faddy people. It has been considered artistic. or sit there. considerably astonished at his words. If you were asked to wear any dress which we might give you. my dear young lady. In dress now. and of a rather peculiar tint of chestnut.

Miss Hunter. when I got back to my lodgings and found little enough in the cupboard. they were at least ready to pay for their eccentricity. madam. and I could see a shadow pass over his face as I spoke. Miss Stoper. and ladies’ fancies. “‘Ah. sir. I had best inspect a few more of your young ladies.’ I answered firmly. And so you won’t cut your hair?’ “‘No.’ said he. “‘I am afraid that it is quite essential. Mr. ‘It is a little fancy of my wife’s. It is a pity. it seems rather useless. because in other respects you would really have done very nicely. I really could not. He had been watching me eagerly out of his small eyes. “Well. and two or three bills upon the table.’ said she sharply. I began to ask myself whether I had not done a very foolish thing. “‘If you please.’ “‘Well. Miss Stoper. you know.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 339 “‘I am afraid that that is quite impossible. In that case. Holmes. if these people had strange fads and expected obedience on the most extraordinary matters. and I was shown out by the page. “‘Do you desire your name to be kept upon the books?’ she asked. since you refuse the most excellent offers in this fashion.’ said I. Very few governesses in Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Good-day to you.’ “The manageress had sat all this while busy with her papers without a word to either of us. very well.’ She struck a gong upon the table. ‘You can hardly expect us to exert ourselves to find another such opening for you. ladies’ fancies must be consulted. then that quite settles the matter. but she glanced at me now with so much annoyance upon her face that I could not help suspecting that she had lost a handsome commission through my refusal. After all. really.

Besides. Next day I was inclined to think that I had made a mistake. that need cause you no inconvenience. as far as the child is concerned. fit you very well. which would. are very light. however.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 340 England are getting 100 pounds a year. and I only hope that the increased salary may recompense you for the loss. after all. near Winchester. Your duties. We are willing to give 30 pounds a quarter. for she has been much attracted by my description of you. Then. You need not. it is no doubt a pity. I had almost overcome my pride so far as to go back to the agency and inquire whether the place was still open when I received this letter from the gentleman himself. and I shall meet you with the dogArthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . so as to recompense you for any little inconvenience which our fads may cause you. and by the day after I was sure of it. I should think. They are not very exacting. My wife is fond of a particular shade of electric blue and would like you to wear such a dress indoors in the morning. but I am afraid that I must remain firm upon this point. My wife is very anxious that you should come. I have it here and I will read it to you: “‘The Copper Beeches. “‘DEAR MISS HUNTER:—Miss Stoper has very kindly given me your address. especially as I could not help remarking its beauty during our short interview. Now do try to come. what use was my hair to me? Many people are improved by wearing it short and perhaps I should be among the number. as to sitting here or there. or amusing yourself in any manner indicated. go to the expense of purchasing one. or 120 pounds a year. as we have one belonging to my dear daughter Alice (now in Philadelphia). As regards your hair. and I write from here to ask you whether you have reconsidered your decision.

Holmes?” “Ah. of course the pay is good—too good. it is the most probable one. if your mind is made up. Holmes the money!” “Well. Mr. JEPHRO RUCASTLE. Mr. But in any case it does not seem to be a nice household for a young lady. “But you would not advise me to refuse?” “I confess that it is not the situation which I should like to see a sister of mine apply for. that before taking the final step I should like to submit the whole matter to your consideration. I have no data. I cannot tell. I thought. there seems to me to be only one possible solution.” “But the money.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .’ “That is the letter which I have just received.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 341 cart at Winchester. Why should they give you 120 pounds a year.” “Well. good-natured man. Is it not possible that his wife is a lunatic. however. Mr. and my mind is made up that I will accept it. when they could have their pick for 40 pounds? There must be some strong reason behind. Let me know your train. “Yours faithfully.” “What is the meaning of it all. Perhaps you have yourself formed some opinion?” “Well. That is what makes me uneasy.” said Holmes. smiling. Holmes. that settles the question. Rucastle seemed to be a very kind. Miss Hunter. as matters stand. that he desires to keep the matter quiet for fear she should be taken to an asylum. Mr. and that he humours her fancies in every way in order to prevent an outbreak?” “That is a possible solution—in fact. yes.

” said he.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 342 “I thought that if I told you the circumstances you would understand afterwards if I wanted your help. during which I frequently found my thoughts turning in her direction and wondering what strange side-alley of human experience this lonely woman had strayed into.” said Holmes gravely. A fortnight went by. I assure you that your little problem promises to be the most interesting which has come my way for some months. “I am much mistaken if we do not hear from her before many days are past. day or night.” With a few grateful words to Holmes she bade us both good-night and bustled off upon her way. If you should find yourself in doubt or in danger—” “Danger! What danger do you foresee?” Holmes shook his head gravely. “she seems to be a young lady who is very well able to take care of herself. firm steps descending the stairs. a telegram would bring me down to your help.” “Oh. you may carry that feeling away with you.” “That is enough. “It would cease to be a danger if we could define it.” “And she would need to be.” She rose briskly from her chair with the anxiety all swept from her face. The unusual salary. “But at any time. “At least.” It was not very long before my friend’s prediction was fulfilled. Rucastle at once. There is something distinctly novel about some of the features. or Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” said I as we heard her quick. I should feel so much stronger if I felt that you were at the back of me. sacrifice my poor hair to-night. I shall write to Mr. all pointed to something abnormal. the curious conditions. “I shall go down to Hampshire quite easy in my mind now. though whether a fad or a plot. and start for Winchester tomorrow. the light duties.

” By eleven o’clock the next day we were well upon our way to Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . HUNTER. The summons was a brief and urgent one.” “There is a train at half-past nine. “It is due at Winchester at 11:30. “Please be at the Black Swan Hotel at Winchester at midday tomorrow. it was quite beyond my powers to determine.” said I.” “Just look it up. as we may need to be at our best in the morning.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 343 whether the man were a philanthropist or a villain. I observed that he sat frequently for half an hour on end. “I should wish to. The telegram which we eventually received came late one night just as I was thinking of turning in and Holmes was settling down to one of those all-night chemical researches which he frequently indulged in.” And yet he would always wind up by muttering that no sister of his should ever have accepted such a situation. glancing over my Bradshaw.” said he. then. glancing up.” it said. and turned back to his chemical studies. and then. “I can’t make bricks without clay.” “Will you come with me?” asked Holmes. glancing at the message. threw it across to me. with knitted brows and an abstracted air. when I would leave him stooping over a retort and a test-tube at night and find him in the same position when I came down to breakfast in the morning.” “That will do very nicely. “Do come! I am at my wit’s end. As to Holmes. “Data! data! data!” he cried impatiently. but he swept the matter away with a wave of his hand when I mentioned it. He opened the yellow envelope. Then perhaps I had better postpone my analysis of the acetones. “Just look up the trains in Bradshaw.

It was an ideal spring day.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 344 the old English capital. and yet there was an exhilarating nip in the air. founded upon my experience. But Holmes shook his head gravely. the little red and grey roofs of the farm-steadings peeped out from amid the light green of the new foliage. “that it is one of the curses of a mind with a turn like mine that I must look at everything with reference to my own special subject. away to the rolling hills around Aldershot. All over the countryside. Watson. It is my belief. The sun was shining very brightly. and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of their isolation and of the impunity with which crime may be committed there. Watson. flecked with little fleecy white clouds drifting across from west to east.” “Good heavens!” I cried. that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside. “Who would associate crime with these dear old homesteads?” “They always fill me with a certain horror.” “You horrify me!” “But the reason is very obvious. or the thud of a Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . The pressure of public opinion can do in the town what the law cannot accomplish. which set an edge to a man’s energy. “Are they not fresh and beautiful?” I cried with all the enthusiasm of a man fresh from the fogs of Baker Street. “Do you know. I look at them. a light blue sky. but after we had passed the Hampshire border he threw them down and began to admire the scenery.” said he. There is no lane so vile that the scream of a tortured child. You look at these scattered houses. Holmes had been buried in the morning papers all the way down. and you are impressed by their beauty.

“It is so very kind of you both. She had engaged a sitting-room.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . She has her freedom. does not beget sympathy and indignation among the neighbours. filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. but indeed I do not know what I should do. But which of these is correct can only be determined by the fresh information which we shall no doubt find waiting for us. each of which would cover the facts as far as we know them. “I am so delighted that you have come. It is the five miles of country which makes the danger. each in its own fields. there is the tower of the cathedral. Had this lady who appeals to us for help gone to live in Winchester. Your advice will be altogether invaluable to me.” “Quite so. If she can come to Winchester to meet us she can get away. and our lunch awaited us upon the table. and then the whole machinery of justice is ever so close that a word of complaint can set it going. year out. it is clear that she is not personally threatened. in such places. year in. Well. and we shall soon learn all that Miss Hunter has to tell. Still. and there we found the young lady waiting for us. and there is but a step between the crime and the dock.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 345 drunkard’s blow.” “What can be the matter.” The Black Swan is an inn of repute in the High Street. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty. at no distance from the station. But look at these lonely houses. and none the wiser.” “No. the hidden wickedness which may go on. then? Can you suggest no explanation?” “I have devised seven separate explanations. I should never have had a fear for her.” she said earnestly.

pale-faced woman. not more than thirty. I found her to be a silent. much younger than her husband. “I was driven over by my employer. but the woods all round are part of Lord Southerton’s preserves. for I have promised Mr. and was introduced by him that evening to his wife and the child. But you shall have it all just as it occurred. who was as amiable as ever. I may say that I have met. on the whole. Mr. whitewashed. in the conjecture which seemed to us to be probable in your rooms at Baker Street. It is only fair to them to say that. as he said. A clump of copper beeches immediately in front of the hall door has given its name to the place.” “I will do so.” “Let us have everything in its due order. Mr. for it is a large square block of a house. Rucastle is not mad. Rucastle met me here and drove me in his dog-cart to the Copper Beeches. beautifully situated. I should Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Rucastle.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 346 “Pray tell us what has happened to you.” “What can you not understand?” “Their reasons for their conduct. There are grounds round it. and I must be quick. But I cannot understand them. Mrs. woods on three sides. though he little knew for what purpose. Rucastle to be back before three. and I am not easy in my mind about them. This ground in front belongs to the house. but it is not beautiful in itself. and on the fourth a field which slopes down to the Southampton highroad. but all stained and streaked with damp and bad weather. which curves past about a hundred yards from the front door. I got his leave to come into town this morning. with no actual ill-treatment from Mr. When I came down. and Mrs. There was no truth. Holmes. It is.” Holmes thrust his long thin legs out towards the fire and composed himself to listen. “In the first place.

Mr. this woman. She was a nonentity. little birds. He is small for his age. I can quite imagine that her position must have been uncomfortable with her father’s young wife. and he shows quite remarkable talent in planning the capture of mice. She impressed me neither favourably nor the reverse. Her light grey eyes wandered continually from one to the other. Holmes. he has little to Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . noting every little want and forestalling it if possible. and on the whole they seemed to be a happy couple. and insects. As the daughter could not have been less than twenty.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 347 think. Giving pain to any creature weaker than himself seems to be his one idea of amusement. that he was a widower. It was easy to see that she was passionately devoted both to her husband and to her little son. And yet she had some secret sorrow. for I have never met so utterly spoiled and so ill-natured a little creature. His whole life appears to be spent in an alternation between savage fits of passion and gloomy intervals of sulking. But I would rather not talk about the creature. More than once I have surprised her in tears. boisterous fashion. She would often be lost in deep thought. Rucastle told me in private that the reason why she had left them was that she had an unreasoning aversion to her stepmother. while he can hardly be less than forty-five. He was kind to her also in his bluff. with a head which is quite disproportionately large. and that his only child by the first wife was the daughter who has gone to Philadelphia. “Mrs. indeed. Rucastle seemed to me to be colourless in mind as well as in feature. I have thought sometimes that it was the disposition of her child which weighed upon her mind. Mr. with the saddest look upon her face. From their conversation I have gathered that they have been married about seven years. and.

” remarked my friend. uncouth man. We shall now see how the electric-blue dress will become you. and a perpetual smell of drink. as silent as Mrs. but fortunately I spend most of my time in the nursery and my own room. turning to me. There are only two. a man and his wife. “For two days after my arrival at the Copper Beeches my life was very quiet. Twice since I have been with them he has been quite drunk. Rucastle came down just after breakfast and whispered something to her husband. but it bore unmistakable signs of having been worn before. His wife is a very tall and strong woman with a sour face.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 348 do with my story. which are next to each other in one corner of the building. and yet Mr. which struck me at once. The one unpleasant thing about the house. and if you would be so good as to put it on we should both be extremely obliged. It could not have been a better fit if I had been measured for it. ‘we are very much obliged to you. Both Mr. It was of excellent material.” “I am glad of all details. and Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . was the appearance and conduct of the servants. with grizzled hair and whiskers. Rucastle and much less amiable. You will find it laid out upon the bed in your room. They are a most unpleasant couple. Miss Hunter.” “I shall try not to miss anything of importance. is a rough. on the third. Toller. yes. for falling in with our whims so far as to cut your hair. Rucastle seemed to take no notice of it. “‘Oh. Mrs. “whether they seem to you to be relevant or not.’ said he. I assure you that it has not detracted in the tiniest iota from your appearance. a sort of beige.’ “The dress which I found waiting for me was of a peculiar shade of blue. for that is his name.

that my own shadow might not fall upon the page. and then Mr. with its back turned towards it. began to tell me a series of the funniest stories that I have ever listened to. “You can easily imagine. which seemed quite exaggerated in its vehemence. I observed. Mr. They were always very careful.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 349 Mrs. and then suddenly. Mrs. You cannot imagine how comical he was. but sat with her hands in her lap. Again I changed my dress. and that I might change my dress and go to little Edward in the nursery. In this I was asked to sit. Rucastle. stretching along the entire front of the house. how curious I became as to what the meaning of this extraordinary performance could possibly be. he ordered me to cease and to change my dress. Holmes. and I laughed until I was quite weary. Rucastle. A chair had been placed close to the central window. They were waiting for me in the drawing-room. never so much as smiled. and moving my chair a little sideways. with three long windows reaching down to the floor. I read for about ten minutes. and a sad. beginning in the heart of a chapter. “Two days later this same performance was gone through under exactly similar circumstances. Mr. in the middle of a sentence. to turn my face away from the window. who has evidently no sense of humour. again I sat in the window. he begged me to read aloud to him. Then he handed me a yellow-backed novel. After an hour or so. and again I laughed very heartily at the funny stories of which my employer had an immense repertoire. and which he told inimitably. which is a very large room. walking up and down on the other side of the room. anxious look upon her face. so that I became consumed with the Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Rucastle expressed a delight at the look of it. Rucastle suddenly remarked that it was time to commence the duties of the day. however.

a small bearded man in a grey suit. so a happy thought seized me. I know no one in these parts. Rucastle to find her eyes fixed upon me with a most searching gaze. and at the same instant Mrs. That was a week ago. and was able with a little management to see all that there was behind me.’ “‘No. “‘Jephro. At least that was my first impression. My hand-mirror had been broken. Kindly turn round and wave him away like that.’ said she. in the midst of my laughter. She said nothing.’ “‘Dear me! How very impertinent! Kindly turn round and motion to him to go away. I perceived that there was a man standing in the Southampton Road. She rose at once. “‘No. On the next occasion. This man. I lowered my handkerchief and glanced at Mrs. ‘there is an impertinent fellow upon the road there who stares up at Miss Hunter. and there are usually people there.’ “I did as I was told. The road is an important highway. who seemed to be looking in my direction. and from that time I have Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . however.’ “‘No friend of yours. At the second glance.’ “‘Surely it would be better to take no notice. was leaning against the railings which bordered our field and was looking earnestly up.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 350 desire to see what was going on behind my back. we should have him loitering here always. Rucastle drew down the blind. At first it seemed to be impossible. There was nothing. and I concealed a piece of the glass in my handkerchief. however. I confess that I was disappointed. but I am convinced that she had divined that I had a mirror in my hand and had seen what was behind me. but I soon devised a means. I put my handkerchief up to my eyes. no. Miss Hunter?’ he asked.

As we approached it I heard the sharp rattling of a chain. but really old Toller. “‘Don’t be frightened. my groom. rapt in the peaceful beauty of the scene. As it emerged into the moonshine I saw what it was. when I was aware that something was moving under the shadow of the copper beeches. On the very first day that I was at the Copper Beeches. We feed him once a day.’ said my employer. and God help the trespasser whom he lays his fangs upon. and there may prove to be little relation between the different incidents of which I speak. I fear. so that he is always as keen as mustard. ‘Is he not a beauty?’ “I looked through and was conscious of two glowing eyes. ‘It’s only Carlo. It was a beautiful moonlight night. It Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Rucastle took me to a small outhouse which stands near the kitchen door. for it’s as much as your life is worth. and not too much then. and the lawn in front of the house was silvered over and almost as bright as day. I call him mine.” “You will find it rather disconnected. I was standing. for two nights later I happened to look out of my bedroom window about two o’clock in the morning. and of a vague figure huddled up in the darkness.’ “The warning was no idle one. “Your narrative promises to be a most interesting one. Rucastle. laughing at the start which I had given. my mastiff. nor seen the man in the road. For goodness’ sake don’t you ever on any pretext set your foot over the threshold at night. showing me a slit between two planks.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 351 not sat again in the window. nor have I worn the blue dress. is the only man who can do anything with him.” “Pray continue. “‘Look in here!’ said Mr.” said Holmes. Toller lets him loose every night. and the sound as of a large animal moving about. Mr.

“And now I have a very strange experience to tell you. and drew from the bottom my own hair. and I drew the drawer open.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 352 was a giant dog. and as I had still much to pack away I was naturally annoyed at not having the use of the third drawer. so I took out my bunch of keys and tried to open it. I began to amuse myself by examining the furniture of my room and by rearranging my own little things. as large as a calf. tawny tinted. and the same thickness. I returned the strange hair to the drawer. the two upper ones empty and open. as you know. and huge projecting bones. It struck me that it might have been fastened by a mere oversight. One evening. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . and I had placed it in a great coil at the bottom of my trunk. Was it not extraordinary? Puzzle as I would. That dreadful sentinel sent a chill to my heart which I do not think that any burglar could have done. but I am sure that you would never guess what it was. But then the impossibility of the thing obtruded itself upon me. It walked slowly across the lawn and vanished into the shadow upon the other side. black muzzle. cut off my hair in London. It was my coil of hair. I had filled the first two with my linen. “I took it up and examined it. The very first key fitted to perfection. the lower one locked. with hanging jowl. How could my hair have been locked in the drawer? With trembling hands I undid my trunk. There was only one thing in it. I had. There was an old chest of drawers in the room. It was of the same peculiar tint. I laid the two tresses together. I could make nothing at all of what it meant. turned out the contents. after the child was in bed. and I assure you that they were identical. and I said nothing of the matter to the Rucastles as I felt that I had put myself in the wrong by opening a drawer which they had locked.

looking as merry and jovial as ever. Mr. and one of them has the shutters up. and I soon had a pretty good plan of the whole house in my head. a little startled at my remark. ‘you must not think me rude if I passed you without a word. There was one wing. as you may have remarked. and a look on his face which made him a very different person to the round. but it was invariably locked. Rucastle coming out through this door. As I strolled up and down. “This aroused my curiosity. glancing at them occasionally. his keys in his hand.’ said he. and the veins stood out at his temples with passion. as I ascended the stair. however. which appeared not to be inhabited at all. “‘Photography is one of my hobbies. jovial man to whom I was accustomed. “‘Ah!’ said he. three of which were simply dirty. One day. however.’ “He looked surprised and. But. Rucastle came out to me. Who would have believed it? Who Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . his brow was all crinkled with anger. I strolled round to the side from which I could see the windows of this part of the house. A door which faced that which led into the quarters of the Tollers opened into this suite.’ “I assured him that I was not offended. They were evidently all deserted.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 353 “I am naturally observant. He locked the door and hurried past me without a word or a look. my dear young lady. Holmes. while the fourth was shuttered up. His cheeks were red. I met Mr. There were four of them in a row. ‘By the way. dear me! what an observant young lady we have come upon. ‘you seem to have quite a suite of spare rooms up there.’ said I. as it seemed to me. so when I went out for a walk in the grounds with my charge. Mr. ‘I have made my dark room up there. I was preoccupied with business matters.

I have no doubt at all that he had left it there. They talk of woman’s instinct. opened the door.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 354 would have ever believed it?’ He spoke in a jesting tone. so thick with dirt that the evening light glimmered dimly through them. and across the outside of it had Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . At any rate. it was there. and I was keenly on the lookout for any chance to pass the forbidden door. perhaps it was woman’s instinct which gave me that feeling. Rucastle were both downstairs. though I have my share of that. unpapered and uncarpeted. and the child was with them. and yesterday evening he was very drunk. The centre door was closed. I turned the key gently in the lock. and I once saw him carrying a large black linen bag with him through the door. but there was no jest in his eyes as he looked at me. so that I had an admirable opportunity. the first and third of which were open. I may tell you that. both Toller and his wife find something to do in these deserted rooms. “It was only yesterday that the chance came. I read suspicion there and annoyance. Recently he has been drinking hard. but no jest. from the moment that I understood that there was something about that suite of rooms which I was not to know. besides Mr. and slipped through. They each led into an empty room. and Mrs. dusty and cheerless. Mr. which turned at a right angle at the farther end. It was not mere curiosity. and when I came upstairs there was the key in the door. “There was a little passage in front of me. Holmes. “Well. I was all on fire to go over them. It was more a feeling of duty—a feeling that some good might come from my penetrating to this place. Round this corner were three doors in a line. Mr. with two windows in the one and one in the other. Rucastle.

padlocked at one end to a ring in the wall. and I turned and ran—ran as though some dreadful hand were behind me clutching at the skirt of my dress. my dear young lady?’ “But his voice was just a little too coaxing. ‘it was you. This barricaded door corresponded clearly with the shuttered window outside. looking at me keenly.’ said he. As I stood in the passage gazing at the sinister door and wondering what secret it might veil. “‘My dear young lady! my dear young lady!’—you cannot think how caressing and soothing his manner was—’and what has frightened you. then. Evidently there was a skylight which let in light from above.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 355 been fastened one of the broad bars of an iron bed.’ “‘Oh. I thought that it must be when I saw the door open. and fastened at the other with stout cord. “‘Why. “‘I was foolish enough to go into the empty wing. I suddenly heard the sound of steps within the room and saw a shadow pass backward and forward against the little slit of dim light which shone out from under the door. The door itself was locked as well. I am so frightened!’ I panted. who was waiting outside. He overdid it. and the key was not there. and yet I could see by the glimmer from beneath it that the room was not in darkness. it is so dreadfully still in there!’ “‘Only that?’ said he. and straight into the arms of Mr. smiling. Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . unreasoning terror rose up in me at the sight. through the door. I rushed down the passage. A mad. I was keenly on my guard against him. Holmes. “‘So. My overstrung nerves failed me suddenly. Mr. ‘But it is so lonely and eerie in this dim light that I was frightened and ran out again.’ I answered. Rucastle. what did you think?’ I asked. Oh.

If I could only bring you down all would be well. Holmes. even of the child. feeling very much easier.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 356 “‘Why do you think that I lock this door?’ “‘I am sure that I do not know. I had no difficulty in getting leave to come into Winchester this morning. Do you see?’ He was still smiling in the most amiable manner. of the servants. And if you ever put your foot over that threshold again’—here in an instant the smile hardened into a grin of rage. then. My mind was soon made up. I could not live there longer without some advice. but I remembered that Toller had drunk himself into a state of insensibility that evening. and I knew that he was the only one in the household who had any influence with the savage creature. and then returned. or who would venture to set him free. of the man of the woman. and Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . but my curiosity was almost as strong as my fears. you know now. I remember nothing until I found myself lying on my bed trembling all over. Of course I might have fled from the house. for Mr. A horrible doubt came into my mind as I approached the door lest the dog might be loose. I was frightened of the house. I put on my hat and cloak. and he glared down at me with the face of a demon— ’I’ll throw you to the mastiff. and Mrs.’ “‘It is to keep people out who have no business there. Then I thought of you. I suppose that I must have rushed past him into my room. Mr. They were all horrible to me. which is about half a mile from the house. I slipped in in safety and lay awake half the night in my joy at the thought of seeing you.’ “I was so terrified that I do not know what I did. “‘I am sure if I had known—’ “‘Well. Rucastle are going on a visit. went down to the office. I would send you a wire. but I must be back before three o’clock.

I heard his wife tell Mrs. My friend rose now and paced up and down the room. the wine-cellar. Toller. You have been Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” Holmes and I had listened spellbound to this extraordinary story.” “That is well. and then turn the key upon her.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 357 will be away all the evening. and an expression of the most profound gravity upon his face. Miss Hunter. And the Rucastles go out to-night?” “Yes. you would facilitate matters immensely. what I should do. Do you think that you could perform one more feat? I should not ask it of you if I did not think you a quite exceptional woman. so that I must look after the child. above all. There only remains Mrs.” “Excellent! We shall then look thoroughly into the affair. who might give the alarm. The Rucastles will be gone by that time. What is it?” “We shall be at the Copper Beeches by seven o’clock. Holmes. we hope. and I should be very glad if you could tell me what it all means.” “I will try. and. If you could send her into the cellar on some errand.” “Is there a cellar with a good strong lock?” “Yes. his hands in his pockets. “Yes. Mr. “Is Toller still drunk?” he asked. be incapable.” “I will do it.” “You seem to me to have acted all through this matter like a very brave and sensible girl. Now I have told you all my adventures. Of course there is only one feasible explanation. Rucastle that she could do nothing with him. my friend and I. and Toller will.

By a curious chance you came upon her tresses. The most serious point in the case is the disposition of the child. whenever he saw you. let us lose not an instant in bringing help to this Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . very possibly in some illness through which she has passed. if I remember right. of course. and the colour of your hair.” “What on earth has that to do with it?” I ejaculated. You were chosen. and that she no longer desired his attentions. as I should suspect. So much is fairly clear. merely for cruelty’s sake. it bodes evil for the poor girl who is in their power. or from his mother. The man in the road was undoubtedly some friend of hers—possibly her fiancé—and no doubt. The dog is let loose at night to prevent him from endeavouring to communicate with her. he was convinced from your laughter. and the real person is imprisoned in this chamber. Oh. That is obvious. This child’s disposition is abnormally cruel. as you wore the girl’s dress and were so like her. “A thousand things come back to me which make me certain that you have hit it. I have no doubt that it is the daughter. you as a medical man are continually gaining light as to the tendencies of a child by the study of the parents. figure. and afterwards from your gesture. I have frequently gained my first real insight into the character of parents by studying their children. who was said to have gone to America. Hers had been cut off. As to who this prisoner is. and whether he derives this from his smiling father. Miss Alice Rucastle.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 358 brought there to personate someone.” cried our client. “My dear Watson. as resembling her in height. that Miss Rucastle was perfectly happy.” “I am sure that you are right. Mr. yours had to be sacrificed also. and so. doubtless. Holmes. Don’t you see that the converse is equally valid.

“That is Mrs. “I think. Watson. Now. “I trust that we are not too late. and it will not be long before we solve the mystery. No sound came from within. unlocked the door. and we shall soon see the end of this black business. with their dark leaves shining like burnished metal in the light of the setting sun. followed on down a passage. for it was just seven when we reached the Copper Beeches.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .” “We must be circumspect. Miss Hunter. put your shoulder to it. We can do nothing until seven o’clock. The group of trees. but without success. which are the duplicates of Mr.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 359 poor creature. that we had better go in without you. Then he tried the various keys in the lock. Here are his keys. A loud thudding noise came from somewhere downstairs.” said she. Holmes cut the cord and removed the transverse bar.” We passed up the stair. and found ourselves in front of the barricade which Miss Hunter had described.” said he. Rucastle’s. “Her husband lies snoring on the kitchen rug. having put up our trap at a wayside public-house. At that hour we shall be with you. for we are dealing with a very cunning man. and at the silence Holmes’s face clouded over. “Have you managed it?” asked Holmes. were sufficient to mark the house even had Miss Hunter not been standing smiling on the door-step. and we shall see whether we cannot make our way in. “Now lead the way.” “You have done well indeed!” cried Holmes with enthusiasm.” We were as good as our word. Toller in the cellar.

There was no furniture save a little pallet bed. “There has been some villainy here. I’ll serve you!” He turned and clattered down the stairs as hard as he Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . We shall soon see how he managed it. “You villain!” said he. “here’s the end of a long light ladder against the eaves. “the ladder was not there when the Rucastles went away. Miss Hunter screamed and shrunk against the wall at the sight of him. The skylight above was open. Watson. I tell you that he is a clever and dangerous man. I should not be very much surprised if this were he whose step I hear now upon the stair. with a heavy stick in his hand. “Ah. a very fat and burly man. It was empty.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 360 It was an old rickety door and gave at once before our united strength.” he cried. I think. but Sherlock Holmes sprang forward and confronted him. “this beauty has guessed Miss Hunter’s intentions and has carried his victim off.” He swung himself up onto the roof. have I? You are in my power. “It is for me to ask you that. and then up at the open skylight.” The words were hardly out of his mouth before a man appeared at the door of the room. Together we rushed into the room.” “But it is impossible.” “But how?” “Through the skylight.” said Holmes.” “He has come back and done it. a small table. “you thieves! Spies and thieves! I have caught you. and the prisoner gone.” said Miss Hunter. that it would be as well for you to have your pistol ready. That is how he did it. yes. and a basketful of linen. “where’s your daughter?” The fat man cast his eyes round.” he shrieked.

Rucastle let me out when he came back before he went up to you. and we all rushed down the stairs together.” “Ha!” said Holmes. Running up. and it fell over with its keen white teeth still meeting in the great creases of his neck. into the house. living but horribly mangled. “My God!” he cried. Toller knows more about this matter than anyone else. Ah. and then a scream of agony. and having dispatched the sobered Toller to bear the news to his wife.” cried Holmes. with a horrible worrying sound which it was dreadful to listen to. I blew its brains out. There was the huge famished brute. quick. Quick. for I would have told you that your pains were wasted. Toller!” cried Miss Hunter. We were all assembled round him when the door opened. “Better close the front door. and a tall. I did what I could to relieve his pain. With much labour we separated them and carried him. miss. miss. “I have my revolver.” said I. “Someone has loosed the dog. it is a pity you didn’t let me know what you were planning. “He’s gone for the dog!” cried Miss Hunter. looking keenly at her. while he writhed and screamed upon the ground. or it’ll be too late!” Holmes and I rushed out and round the angle of the house. its black muzzle buried in Rucastle’s throat. We laid him upon the drawing-room sofa. with Toller hurrying behind us. An elderly man with a red face and shaking limbs came staggering out at a side door. We had hardly reached the hall when we heard the baying of a hound. It’s not been fed for two days.” Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . “Yes. “It is clear that Mrs. gaunt woman entered the room. Mr.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 361 could go. “Mrs.

sit down.” said Holmes.” “Then. and let us hear it for there are several points on which I must confess that I am still in the dark. pray. I presume. and that I can deduce all that remains. and with her beautiful hair cut off. then her father thought it time to put a stop on it. but when there was a chance of a husband coming forward. Fowler at a friend’s house. When she wouldn’t do it. He knew he was safe with her. I do. As well as I could learn.” “I will soon make it clear to you. sir. “I think that what you have been good enough to tell us makes the matter fairly clear. Rucastle then. and he stuck to her as true as man could be. Mr.” said she. but that didn’t make no change in her young man. Then she got better at last. she was. who would ask for all that the law would give him.” “And brought Miss Hunter down from London in order to get Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . Miss Alice had rights of her own by will. he kept on worrying her until she got brain-fever. but she was so quiet and patient. and that I was Miss Alice’s friend too. sir. Miss Alice wasn’t. all worn to a shadow. that she never said a word about them but just left everything in Mr. “She was never happy at home. but it never really became bad for her until after she met Mr. you’ll remember that I was the one that stood your friend.” “Ah. he could use her money. She was slighted like and had no say in anything. “and I’d have done so before now if I could ha’ got out from the cellar. and for six weeks was at death’s door. and I am ready enough to tell what I know. Rucastle’s hands. from the time that her father married again. If there’s police-court business over this. so that whether she married or not. He wanted her to sign a paper.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 362 “Yes. took to this system of imprisonment?” “Yes.

Fowler and Miss Rucastle were married. and he is now the holder of a government appointment in the island of Mauritius. kept alive solely through the care of his devoted wife.” “You have it. just as it happened. my friend Holmes. And here comes the country surgeon and Mrs. Fowler being a persevering man.” “That was it. manifested no further interest in her when once she had ceased to be the centre of one of his problems. Fowler was a very kind-spoken. rather to my disappointment.” And thus was solved the mystery of the sinister house with the copper beeches in front of the door. free-handed gentleman. that we had best escort Miss Hunter back to Winchester. Mrs. Rucastle. by special license. Watson. as a good seaman should be. Fowler. They still live with their old servants. blockaded the house. Toller. Mr. who probably know so much of Rucastle’s past life that he finds it difficult to part from them. Toller serenely.” “I am sure we owe you an apology. Mr. and Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics . sir. sir.” “Mr. Rucastle survived. in convincing you that your interests were the same as his.” said Holmes. metallic or otherwise. and that a ladder should be ready at the moment when your master had gone out. and having met you succeeded by certain arguments. so I think. “for you have certainly cleared up everything which puzzled us. in Southampton the day after their flight. but was always a broken man. As to Miss Violet Hunter.Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 363 rid of the disagreeable persistence of Mr.” “But Mr.” said Mrs. “And in this way he managed that your good man should have no want of drink. as it seems to me that our locus standi now is rather a questionable one.

Arthur Conan Doyle Elecbook Classics .Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 364 she is now the head of a private school at Walsall. where I believe that she has met with considerable success.

0 or higher.adobe.Using Acrobat To view the books you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. The page is set to the width of its window and you can alter the magnification by clicking on the dividing bar between page and bookmarks and dragging it to left or right. More detailed assistance if you need it can be obtained by choosing Acrobat Online Help from the menu bar.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep. You can alter the view by clicking on the Select Page View button at the bottom of the page or clicking on View on the menu bar at the top of the screen and then selecting your option. When you first open a book. To use the full search functions you will need the larger Acrobat+Search version. click on the Next Page button and you will see that the page opens with a set of Bookmarks on the left. not the simple Acrobat Reader. Take a little time to experiment and see what suits you best. installed on your computer. the first thing to do is to choose the best way of viewing it. Acrobat has a range of ways of viewing and searching the books. If you don't have Acrobat +Search you can download if free from Adobe at: http://www.html. You can also use one of the three pre- . version 3. Viewing: Once you have opened a book. Running the mouse cursor across them will bring up balloon help indicating the function of each. Follow the instructions to make sure you get the correct version. The main controls for Acrobat are the set of menus and icons which you will see ranged along the top and bottom of the page.

Hold down the Ctrl key and you will see the ‘Search’ button turn to ‘Refine’. Search highlights all the words or phrases it finds which match your request. Searching: To find a word or phrase in the texts click on the Search button. if you prefer. two pages (Go to the 1. For example searching for prim* would find prime.or 15-inch) and lower resolutions. you can view an entire page at a time by selecting Fit Page or.set views on the button bar. . If you are in the Fit Width view you can alter page magnification by dragging the page edge to left or right. (800 by 600 or below) you will probably find it is best to view about half a page at a time. Click on the Refine button and then the Search Next and Search Previous buttons as before. Wild cards are * and ?. You can also select and magnify areas of the page by up to 800% with the Magnify View tool. To highlight the previous occurrence of a match in a document. This is particularly useful for viewing smaller pictures or diagrams. Alternatively you can set an exact figure using the Select Page View button. With larger screens and higher resolutions. (This is the icon of a pair of binoculars with a pad behind it—not to be confused with the much slower Find button which is a simple pair of binoculars) This will open a dialog box in which you can type the required words. Use the PgUp or PgDn keys or the sidebar to move up and down the pages. To highlight the next occurrence of a match in the document. click the Search Previous button. Fit Page and 100% View) For smaller screens (14.or 2-page view button at the bottom of the page). To refine your search click on the Search button again to bring up the dialog box and type in your next search term. click the Search Next button. (Fit Window. The asterisk * matches none. one or more characters. primal.

primate etc as well as prim. These expand or limit the results of searches with single terms and phrases. Click in the option boxes if you want to use them. Thesaurus finds words that have meanings similar to the meaning of the search word. The query ? matches single characters only. with wild card symbols and with Boolean expressions. Word stemming finds words that share a stem with the search word. searching for t?me would find time and tame but not theme. Match case finds text only when it has the same case as the text you type. . Sounds like finds different spellings of proper names. Search Options.

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